The effects of an injury to the first thoracic vertebrae, often from a car accident or other trauma, can be lasting and significant. Located near the top rib, an injury to the spinal cord at this level can create problems with nerves, sensation, and movement in the rest of the body from this point down.
Like other back injuries, fractures to the first thoracic vertebrae may or may not involve the spinal cord. When the injury does involve the spinal cord, the injury may be complete or incomplete. The details of your case have a significant impact on the lasting effects of this type of injury.
Understanding Injuries to the First Thoracic Vertebra
Between your cervical (neck) vertebrae and your lumbar spine (lower back) are your thoracic vertebrae. There are 12 vertebrae in this area, often referred to as T1 through T12. An injury to T1 occurs around the level of your top rib. Trauma can cause injury to your T1 vertebrae and leave you fighting to recover from a significant spinal cord injury.
Temporary and Lasting Effects of a First Thoracic Vertebrae Injury
The temporary and lasting effects of a spinal cord injury depend on many factors. These include:
- The level of the injury
- The completeness of the injury
- Other injuries suffered in addition to the spinal cord injury
- How quickly doctors can stabilize the spine
There is no way to predict the type or severity of the lasting impairment that a spinal cord injury may cause. Every case is unique. Some of the temporary and lasting effects of an injury to the first thoracic vertebra may include:
- Paraplegia, nerve damage to the legs and lower body, other related effects
- Issues with fine motor skills and dexterity in the hands
- Lacking control of abdominal muscles or core muscles of the trunk
- Problems controlling the bowels or bladder
Some people, especially those with relatively minor incomplete injuries, may recover most of the impairments he or she suffered immediately following an injury to T1. Doctors will likely administer medications to reduce swelling and pressure and may be able to prevent more serious injuries.
Treatment and Care for a T1 Injury
All serious spinal cord injuries require careful medical observation, diagnostics, and monitoring. Many patients need surgery to decompress the spine or fuse and stabilize the vertebrae. Surgical treatment often occurs in the first days following the injury. After surgery, doctors will continue to monitor progress through:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Regular evaluations of their abilities and impairments
- Pain and other indicators
Once the patient is recovering from surgery, is stable, and there is no risk of further injury, the doctor will likely recommend physical therapy and rehabilitation. Physical therapy aims to help patients recover from their injuries as much as possible. Depending on the severity of the injury and the significance of the impairments, both inpatient and outpatient therapies are common.
Inpatient rehabilitation is an intense program of physical therapy alongside other types of therapies that may help the patient recover their ability to live independently, work, and care for themselves. Some inpatient rehabilitation centers focus on spinal cord injuries and offer specialized therapies for those with significant injuries.
In most cases, patients will finish an inpatient program after several weeks and continue regaining strength and relearning skills through outpatient physical therapy.
Pursuing Compensation After an Injury to the First Thoracic Vertebrae
If you or a loved one suffered an injury to the first thoracic vertebrae, you may have the right to hold the party who caused your injury liable. We may be able to pursue compensation on your behalf through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
At Newsome | Melton, we have more than 20 years of experience fighting to protect the rights of our clients. We can review your case for free, identify the liable party, and help you understand your legal options for pursuing compensation. Our spinal cord injury lawyers will collect evidence to prove negligence and liability. We know what it takes to win a spinal injury case and can pursue the compensation you deserve based on your injuries, expenses, and losses.
Call our team today for your free case review and consultation. You can reach us at (800) 917-5888.