Spine Injuries Associated With Falls From Hunting Tree Stands


ABSTRACT: Spinal injuries resulting from falls out of tree stands are often associated with  concomitant neurologic deficit, prolonged hospitalization, and long-term disability. The  purpose of this study was to review the types of spinal injuries that resulted from falls from  hunting tree stands. We retrospectively reviewed 27 patients who came to our institution for  treatment of spine injuries related to tree-stand accidents between 1981 and 1997. Eleven  percent of the falls were alcohol related. Mean height of the fall was 19.6 feet (range, 10 to 35  feet). There were 17 burst fractures, 8 wedge compression fractures, 4 fractures involving the  posterior elements, and 1 coronal fracture of the sacral body. Significant neurologic injury  occurred in 12 patients (44%). Sixteen patients (59%) had associated injuries. Nine patients  (33%) had open reduction, internal fixation, and fusion of their spine fractures. One patient  was treated with a halo jacket. The remaining patients were treated in rigid, molded, polypropylene thoracolumbar orthoses or lumbosacral corsets. Accidental falls from tree  stands may result in significant spinal fractures often associated with concomitant neurologic  injury, extended hospitalization, and permanent disability. Many of these injuries may be  prevented through aggressive hunter safety education.

SKU: JSOA-1998-8-4-W4 Categories: ,

Brian M. Crites, MD; Claude T. Moorman III, MD; William T. Hardaker, Jr., MD