Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Diagnosis of vertebral fractures in post-ictal patients
  1. R J Napier,
  2. P C Nolan
  1. Department of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, Royal Hospitals, Belfast, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Richard Napier, 103 Brunswick Road, Bangor, Co Down, BT20 3DW, UK; rjnapier{at}


The violent forces generated by the strong paraspinal muscles during generalised tonic-clonic seizures are known to be associated with numerous musculoskeletal injuries. Vertebral fractures following epileptic seizures are typically compression fractures, occurring in the mid thoracic region, usually without resultant neurological deficit. Despite the relative frequency of vertebral compression fractures complicating tonic-clonic seizures, burst fractures are rare. We report a case of a burst fracture resulting in conus medullaris syndrome following generalised motor seizures. Clinicians managing post-ictal patients should maintain a high degree of suspicion for secondary injury and conduct a detailed clinical examination. If there remains any doubt regarding diagnosis, appropriate imaging should be employed.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.