Proposed by Francis
Denis, three-column concept divides a spinal segment into
three parts: anterior, middle, and posterior colums.
The anterior column comprises
anterior longitudunal ligament and the anterior half of the vertebral
body; the middle column comprises the
posterior half of the vertebral body and the posterior longitudunal
ligament; the posterior column comprises the
pedicles, the facet joints and the supraspinous ligaments.
Denis used that model as the
basis of his classification system of spinal fractures.
Each columns have different contributions to stability, and their
damages may affect stability differently. Generally, if two or more of
these columns are damaged, then the spine
is unstable. However, it depends on the characteristics of the
fracture. More details can be found in Denis
classification of spinal fractures.
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