Thoracic spine fractures are more difficult to diagnose and assess on conventional films. Lumbar fractures are easier to detect on radiographs. CT characterizes more fully the extent of all of the fractures, particularly those involving the posterior elements. MR is superior for evaluating soft tissue injury, trauma to disks and ligaments, and for verifying the presence of extra- and intramedullary hemorrhage. The radiologist is critical in directing the imaging and determining the extent of injury so that the correct treatment plan is implemented.