The rate of thoracolumbar fracture in blunt trauma patients is 7%.[8] The male to female ratio is 4:1,[9] and the median age is 25 years (although older patients may present with thoracolumbar fractures as a result of simple falls, due to co-existing osteoporosis). Paediatric patients account for 1% to 5% of spinal injury admissions.[10] In paediatric populations, the spinal cord can be injured without disruption of the spinal column - a condition defined as SCIWORA (spinal cord injury without radiological abnormality). SCIWORA occurs in 42% of patients aged under 9 years, and 8% of patients aged 15-17 years.[11]

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