Wedge fracture

Wedge fractures are hyperflexion injuries to the vertebral body resulting from axial loading. Most commonly affecting the anterior aspect, wedge fractures are considered a single-column (i.e. stable) fracture. 

Less commonly wedge fractures refer to a subtype of tibial plateau fractures. This article addresses vertebral wedge fractures. 

Most common type (~50%) of thoracolumbar spine fractures 4

Typically, these fractures are insufficiency fractures secondary to ostoporosis, although some are pathological secondary to a focal bone lesion. A small proportion are due to trauma in patients with normal underlying bone 2.

Radiographs, CT, and MRI may show cortical disruption with impaction of the antero-superior endplate. The antero-inferior endplate and posterior vertebral body remain unaffected. This results in the characteristic "wedged" appearance 3,4

  • burst fracture: fracture of anterior and posterior vertebral body (i.e. two-column injury) 4
  • care should be taken to assess for posterior ligamentous injury, indicative of potential instability
Spinal trauma
Share article

Article information

rID: 35522
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Wedge fractures
  • Vertebral body wedge fractures
  • Wedge compression fractures
  • Vertebral body wedge fracture
  • Wedge compression fracture

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: acute vs old
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 2
    Drag here to reorder.
  • LAT
    Case 3
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 4: multiple fractures
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 5: with a spinal synovial cyst
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.