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Three patients with unilateral fracture of the posterior elements of the lumbar spine suffered while they were alpine skiing are presented. The common mechanism of injury was hyperextension with compression. A rotational element may be implicated in single facet fractures. Unilateral fracture of the lumbar spine without dislocation can be managed conservatively, but these patients have to be followed closely. These results indicate that the lumbar neural arch, at the pars interarticularis, is vulnerable to mechanical fatigue. Attention should be given to young or adolescent skiers with acute injury of the lumbar spine.
facet fracture, spinal injury, ski injury
Orthopedic surgeon, The Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo,
President, Katayama Memorial Hospital, Yokohama,