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Transverse Process Fracture

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is a transverse process fracture?

This fracture is a break or crack in one of the wing-like sides at the back of a vertebra. Muscles and ligaments are attached to this part of the vertebra. The fracture can be caused by trauma or by a severe muscle contraction. A high amount of force is needed to cause a transverse process fracture. Nerves are usually not damaged, but the force can cause internal injuries and bleeding. A transverse process fracture most commonly happens in the middle or lower back.

Vertebral Column

What increases my risk for a transverse process fracture?

What are the signs and symptoms of a transverse process fracture?

Signs and symptoms depend on where the fracture happened, and how severe it is:

How is a transverse process fracture diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. Tell him or her how the injury happened. You may also need any of the following:

How is a transverse process fracture treated?

What can I do to manage my symptoms?

The fracture may take weeks or months to heal. The following can help manage your symptoms:

How can I prevent more injury?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone else call if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.