Recent fractures of vertebral bodies, uncomplicated by lesions of the cord, can be made to respond to treatment on the same general principles, and as satisfactorily, as major fractures of the large weightbearing bones. Each of the latter presents distinct problems, owing to fundamental differences in structure and function. This is also true of the vertebral column, largely because of the peculiar structure and functions of the intervertebral disks, the frequent destruction of the disks as a result of injury and the high degree of adaptability of the column to such destruction under favorable treatment.
This thesis represents a study of the clinical course and early destiny of recent fractures of vertebral bodies without injury of the cord, the mechanics of their reduction by hyperextension and the mechanism of possible injury to the cord during reduction. It is based on a study of thirty-one consecutive1 cases occurring in and