An unstable spine is a common spinal condition which can be caused by a number of factors including trauma and degenerative spine disease.
After White and Panjabi's original definition of instability, and many classification schemes later, there remains no practical and meaningful definition for spinal instability in thoracolumbar trauma. Surgeon expertise and experience remains an important factor in stability determination.
Abbasi Fard et al. propose that, at an initial assessment, a distinction should be made between immediate and delayed instability. This designation should better guide surgeons in decision making and patient counseling 1).