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Vertebral compression due to injury - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Brain and Spine
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 3177 Questions
User :   What causes decreased height in the L5 vertebra?
Doctor :   Hi
Doctor :   How can I help you ?
User :   I'm 26 years old and was in a car accident and my pelvic x-ray report said that my L5 vertebra was decreased height
User :   I was wondering what causes that
Doctor :   Ok.
Doctor :   May I know the injury that you sustained in the accident ?
User :   I don't have a specific injury. I'm in a neck brace and have neck and back pain.
User :   I had a concussion.
Doctor :   Ok
User :   I was thrown onto a windshield after being hit by a car.
User :   I spent the night in observation in ER
Doctor :   Ok.
Doctor :   Hope you are doing a bit better now, after all the trauma,
User :   thanks
User :   do you have an answer for me?
Doctor :   Yes , But need few more details pertaining to your injury, hope it is fine
Doctor :   How much was the shortening ?
User :   It didn't say
Doctor :   Was it more than 10% or more than 25% ?
User :   It just said a decrease in height of the L5
Doctor :   Ok.
Doctor :   Did you get an MRI Scan done for the Spine ?
User :   just the cervical spine
User :   not the lumbar spine
Doctor :   Ok.
User :   Should I get one for the lumbar spine?
Doctor :   Did they say that the Cervical spine had any Disc Prolapse or Bulge or Any shortening of the vertebrae ?
User :   It did not have any of that
Doctor :   That is very good, you are very lucky I would say
User :   My family doctor said the decrease in L5 wouldn't be caused by the accident, but i'm not sure she knows
Doctor :   But according to the minnesota rule , if there is more than 25% decrease in height it has to be repaired surgically or else it has to be treated medically.
User :   I just want to know if it is possible that it was caused by the accident.
Doctor :   For this in depth analysis of each vertebrae, we usually advise an MRI Scan for the Lumbar Spine if we suspect any shortening.
Doctor :   Yes, It can be caused very much by the accident, if you have an injury to your back or pelvis region or in the lower back or any shock and injury to the Spine after a fall.
Doctor :   But it could also have other etiology like in some chronic diseases.
User :   Okay. She said there's no way it can be caused by trauma, just arthritic or something like that.
Doctor :   May I know your gender please ?
User :   female
Doctor :   Ok, Then we may consider Arthritic changes , But I would say that it is rare for your age .
User :   that's what i thought
User :   I think she didn't want to deal with me today because I had already followed up with the doctor that saw me in the hospital.
Doctor :   We usually see that in Osteoporosis or Other hormonal problems or In older males with chronic arthritis or in Occupational health problems.
User :   okay
User :   thank you
User :   I will fight to get an MRI of my lumbar spine
Doctor :   Ok, May be, But I feel an MRI would rule out any grave decrease in the height of the vertebrae.
Doctor :   That would help you out and put all the matters to rest.
User :   Is it also possible that cervical injuries could show up later if they didn't show up right away on the cervical spine MRI?
Doctor :   If they find out it is below 10% then please do not go for a surgery and try to sort it out by life style changes and medication.
User :   ok
User :   Is it also possible that cervical injuries could show up later if they didn't show up right away on the cervical spine MRI?
Doctor :   Usually they show up in 99% cases in MRI.
User :   right away after the accident?
Doctor :   If it is negative there, I feel you would be fine , may be only muscle catch.
User :   Okay. They only did the MRI of my cervical spine. I will get one of the lumbar spine
Doctor :   Yes that would be the best thing to do.
User :   Thank you.
Doctor :   Thank you for consulting me.
Doctor :   Hope you get well soon.
Doctor :   Take care, Bye for now.
User :   Thanks. I just don't know what I will do if I can't the MRI ordered.
User :   hopefully he'll do it
Doctor :   He will, if you suggest, not to worry.
User :   thanks
Doctor :   take cre
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