Denis Classification

Denis defined four types of spinal fractures:

  • Wedge fracture (stable)
  • Burst fracture (stable)
  • Seat belt fracture (unstable)
  • Fracture dislocation (unstable)

Denis also divided the spine into three columns:

  • The anterior column (anterior longitudunal ligament plus the anterior half of the vertebral body)
  • The middle column (the posterior half of the vertebral body plus the posterior longitudunal ligament)
  • The posterior column (the pedicles, facet joints, plus the supraspinous ligaments)
  • Instability results if there is disruption of two or more of these columns

Further details are available at Spine Universe and the GPNotebook.

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