Magerl classification of thoracolumbar spinal fractures

The Magerl classification of thoracolumbar spinal fractures is based on the three column concept by Denis, and the McAfee classification. It relies exclusively on CT findings.


A: compression injuries
  • A1: impaction fractures
    • A1.1: endplate impaction
    • A1.2: wedge impaction
    • A1.3: vertebral body collapse
  • A2: split fractures
    • A2.1: frontal split fracture
    • A2.2: sagittal split fracture
    • A2.3: pincer fracture
  • A3: burst fractures
    • A3.1: incomplete burst fracture
    • A3.2: burst split fracture
    • A3.3: complete burst fracture
      • A3.3.1: pincer
      • A3.3.2: flexion
      • A3.3.3: axial
B: distraction injuries
  • B1: predominantly transligamentous flexion-distraction injury
    • B1.1: with transverse disc disruption
      • B1.1.1: flexion subluxation
      • B1.1.2: anterior dislocation
      • B1.1.3: B1.1.1 or B1.1.2 the with fractures of the articular processes
    • B1.2: with type A vertebral body fracture
  • B2: predominantly osseous flexion-distraction injury
    • B2.1: transverse bi column fracture
    • B2.2: posterior osseous disruption with transverse disc disruption
      • B2.2.1: through the pedicles
      • B2.2.2: through the interarticular portions (flexion spondylolysis)
    • B2.3: with type A vertebral body fracture
      • B2.3.1: through the pedicles
      • B2.3.2: through the isthmus
  • B3: anterior disruption through the disc
    • B3.1: hyperextension-subluxation
    • B3.2: hyperextension-spondylolysis
    • B3.3: posterior dislocation
C: torsion injuries
  • C1: rotation-compression injury
    • C1.1: impaction
    • C1.2: split
    • C1.3: burst
  • C2: rotation-distraction injury
    • C2.1: with transligamentous flexion-distraction
    • C2.2: with transosseous flexion-distraction
    • C2.3: with hyperextension-distraction
  • C3: rotational shear injury
Spinal trauma
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rID: 15491
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Thoraco-lumbar spinal fractures: Magerl classification

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Cases and figures

  • Magerl A1.2: wedged impaction
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  • Magerl A2.1: frontal split compression injury
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  •  Magerl A3.1: incomplete burst
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  • Magerl A3.3.3: axial complete burst
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  • Magerl B2.2.2: traumatic spondylolysis
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  • Magerl C3: shear injury
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