Do I require any surgery for L1 vertebra fracture?

Q. Got L1 fracture. How long will it take to heal?

Answered by
Dr. Yada Bhanutej
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 31, 2020 and last reviewed on: Jun 15, 2023

Hello doctor,

I had a fall at home and got fractured in my L1 vertebra. My local doctor is treating me conservatively. I use back brace while walking (maximum five minutes) and doing physiotherapy. As far my work is considered, extensive travel is required. Within how many days, I will get fully fit? Will it create any complications in the future? Is any surgery required? I am really worried. Please suggest.



Welcome to

I read your query. It is almost 3.5 weeks since the injury. I saw your scan film (attachment removed to protect patient identity). Treatment/management of vertebral fractures depends on two factors mainly which includes, is there any neurological deficit due to the fracture fragments and posterior structure? and height of the collapse of the vertebra. According to your CT scam films, the height of collapse is not more than 50 %, so according to this criteria it is conservative management (no surgery) but the status of neurological injury is not yet determined, it needs an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the whole spine. And can you please send me the CT (computerized tomography) scan report, so that the intactness of posterior structure can be known. So if your CT scan films does not show any damage in the posterior structures and MRI does not show any compression on cord or nerve roots, it does not need surgery. And follow up x-rays are taken, maybe at the end of one month to see for progression of the deformity.

Investigations to be done:

MRI of the whole spine.

Preventive measures:

Please wear your spine brace always when you are in an upright position i.e. sitting, walking.

Regarding follow up:

Follow up with CT scan report.

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