Thoracic Pathology in Athletes

  • Joseph P. Maslak
  • Jason W. Savage


The thoracic spine is characterized by significant biomechanical stability and functions in athletics to stabilize the trunk and enable coordinated upper extremity actions. While pathologies are rare, they may range from muscular injuries that are treated conservatively to life-threatening neurologic injury such as complete paraplegia requiring operative decompression and stabilization. Comprehensive history and physical and radiographic imaging are the initial workup for thoracic injuries, with computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging playing important roles in furthering our understanding of individual pathologies such as fractures, disc herniations, and spinal cord injuries. Because the incidence of thoracic spine injuries is relatively rare, there remains no consensus regarding return-to-play recommendations, although full strength without neurologic deficit and full painless range of motion are useful return-to-play criteria.


Thoracic Spine Athlete Sport Injury 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph P. Maslak
    • 1
  • Jason W. Savage
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryMcGaw Medical Center of Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Center for Spine HealthCleveland ClinicClevelandUSA

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