mauricemMemberAugust 13, 2012 at 9:23 pmPost count: 2
My name is Maurice Mitchell and I’m the co-editor of the science
fiction blog “The Geek Twins.”
I got your name from a list of “100 Spine Surgeons and Specialists to
Know” and am contacting you, and several others, for your expertise in spinal surgery and injury.
We’re writing an upcoming post on the spinal injury in the film “The
Dark Knight Rises.”
If you haven’t seen the movie, the character of Batman (Bruce Wayne)
is fighting and dropped onto the knee of the villain Bane. His back
is severely damaged.
Few details are given, but he is immobilized in severe pain for
several months and a doctor determines that he has a protrouded disk.
He uses his fist to push it back into place and hangs Wayne up for
several days. Wayne is restored to full health and starts excercising
again. We can asume this is a case of spinal disc herniation caused by the trauma. Since this didn’t heal by itself it’s not minor
Our question is: Is this accurate and possible?
We realize this is just a comic book movie, but would appreciate your
expertise in the matter.
Thank you for your time and we look forward to reading your response.Dr. CorenmanModeratorAugust 14, 2012 at 12:51 amPost count: 3547
Movies sell fantasy and fantasy is exactly what you describe. “Bending” a person over a knee through the spine hyperextends the spine. This causes facet fractures and tears of the anterior disc. This injury typically will not cause a disc herniation.
Let us suspend judgment and assume however that the disc is herniated through this maneuver. A disc tear is required to allow a herniation to occur. This disc tear never heals because the disc is avascular (no blood supply). You cannot reduce a disc herniation back to the center of the disc as the mechanics do not allow this to happen.
Without surgery, a typical disc herniation takes between eight weeks to four months for an individual to recover. Ah- if fantasy could only be reality.
Dr. CorenmanmauricemMemberAugust 14, 2012 at 2:58 amPost count: 2
Thanks Dr. Corenman. I should have specified that Bane lifted the man over his head and then dropped him onto his knee from several feet in the air. I’m not sure if that changes anything.
So what you’re saying is that you can’t just punch the disc back in place and move on? As a layman, I thought that was the case, but it’s nice to have it confirmed by an expert.
If only it were that easy right? I do love a good fantasy though.
– MauriceDr. CorenmanModeratorAugust 14, 2012 at 3:15 amPost count: 3547
The distance to the impact point will increase the inertia and therefore the force of the impact. The impact however does not change in the biomechanics but just increases the forces that then create more injury. You would not generally cause a herniation with this maneuver but fracture bone and tear disc.
Unfortunately, you cannot “punch” a disc back into place or I would be taking karate lessons.
Dr. CorenmanmauricemMemberAugust 14, 2012 at 8:26 pmPost count: 2
Do you mind if we quote you in our blog post Dr. Corenman? We’ll share the link when it comes online.
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