Lumbar burst fractures occur when unusual force and flexion are placed on the spine, causing the vertebral body to rupture and possibly protrude into the spinal canal. A resulting conus medullaris injury is possible, but not common. In this case presentation, a young man suffered bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction after a 25-foot fall that caused a burst fracture of the first lumbar vertebra. The presentation's primary focus is primarily the nursing education needed to care for patients who experience the unusual side effect of conus medullaris injury. The psychosocial aspects attributable to age, developmental stage, and stigma for a young man with these dysfunctions also are explored.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Jennifer S. Storch, BSN, Editorial Office, Department of Neurosurgery, ML 0515, 231 Albert Sabin Way, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0515, or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. She is nurse on the neuroscience intensive care unit at University Hospital, Cincinnati, OH.
© 2005 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses