The T1 vertebra is also known as the first thoracic vertebra, the first vertebrae below the neck vertebrae, and the first vertebrae to be connected to the ribcage. Because the thoracic vertebrae are joined to the ribs, they have a more limited range of motion than the cervical (neck) vertebra and lumbar (lower back) vertebrae. Also, because the thoracic spine is stabilized by the ribcage, a significant amount of force is necessary to fracture the thoracic vertebrae. Fractures of the first thoracic vertebrae may be associated with rib fractures and internal chest injuries to the heart and lungs.
Four Types of Thoracic Spine Fractures
Fractures of the first thoracic vertebrae bone can be categorized into four major types:
Compression Fractures: Compression fractures are most commonly caused by a fall landing on the buttocks, but can also result from direct trauma to the first thoracic vertebra. Compression fractures are the most common type of thoracic vertebrae fracture. As long as the middle and posterior vertebrae columns are intact, the fracture is considered stable and does not result in a spinal cord injury. Bed rest and physical therapy may be sufficient to treat a compression fracture, depending on the severity of the injury.
Burst Fractures: Burst fractures are most commonly caused from a fall from a height landing on feet, but can also result from direct trauma to the first thoracic vertebra. Burst fractures occur more often in the lumbar vertebrae than the upper thoracic vertebrae.
Flexion-Distraction Fractures: A flexion-distraction injury occurs most commonly in a motor vehicle accident and is usually caused by the seatbelt putting enough pressure on the chest to cause a fracture of the spine, and injury to ligaments and discs as well. This type of fracture is rare in the upper thoracic spine and is considered unstable. If the injury occurs at the junction of the thoracic vertebrae and the lumbar vertebrae, the injury is called a chance fracture.
Fracture-Dislocation: A fracture-dislocation is a potentially life-threatening injury because it frequently causes displacement of the vertebrae bones. In more than 90% of cases, T1 fracture-dislocation injuries are associated with a spinal cord injury and paraplegia.
Causes of Vertebrae Fractures
Vertebrae fractures can happen numerous different ways. The most common causes of T1 vertebrae fractures are motor vehicle-related accidents (car accidents, SUV rollover accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents), construction accidents, and slip and fall accidents. Other causes of T1 vertebrae fractures are gunshots, assaults, and sports-related accidents.
Compensation For Vertebrae Fractures
T1 vertebrae fractures are serious injuries that in some cases may cause lifelong pain and disability. If you or a family member suffered a T1 vertebrae fracture or any other serious bone fracture injury, talk to an attorney before you talk to the insurance company. The goal of the insurance company will be to pay you as little as possible for your injuries. An attorney can help you understand and protect your rights, and ultimately recover the maximum compensation you deserve. At Estey & Bomberger, we have the resources to aggressively pursue compensation for your current and future medical needs, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. We are proud of our reputation both with our clients and throughout the legal community. To learn more about our San Diego injury firm, see our client testimonials and case results, or call us anytime at (619) 295-0035 for an immediate telephone consultation.