A family member of mine was rear-ended by a heavy duty truck at a high rate of speed a month ago. He went to the ER and was released. Severe back pain continued, so they ran an MRI on his T-spine about 1 month after the car wreck.

The MRI said he had a large syrinx within the T-spinal cord, that there may be 2 lumens of the syrinx which is measuring at 9 mm transverse X 6 mm AP with thinning of the cord around the syrinx and the cord is also expanded due to the syrinx.

There is abnormal edema within several vertebral bodies with subtle horizontal fracture lines suggested within T-11 and T-12 with mild edema in the superior endplate regions of T7 and T5.

DOCTOR 1: Tells my family member his back is all messed up, that he has a fracture to T11 and T-12 with other issues throughout the T-spine.

DOCTOR 2: The surgical consult says to drain the spinal fluid which has leaked out, but that my family member's back is not that bad and there are no fractures.

Can anyone please advise me on how bad his back really is? What suggestions would you give someone in his position with two contradictory answers on what is wrong with his back? Any thing else he should know about these injuries (i.e., recovery time, treatment, what to ask the doctors)? Thank you in advance for your assistance.