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28.09.2016 | Original Article • SPINE - TRAUMA | Ausgabe 1/2017

European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology 1/2017

Noncontiguous double-level unstable spinal injuries

Zeitschrift:
European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology > Ausgabe 1/2017
Autoren:
Masanari Takami, Motohiro Okada, Yoshio Enyo, Hiroshi Iwasaki, Hiroshi Yamada, Munehito Yoshida

Abstract

Purpose

Noncontiguous double-level unstable spinal injuries (NDUSI) are uncommon and have not been well described. In this study, we aimed to better understand the patterns of NDUSI, in order to recommend proper diagnostic and treatment methods, as well as to raise awareness among traumatologists about the possibility of these uncommon injuries.

Methods

A total of 710 consecutive patients with spine fractures were treated for >9 years since 2007 at a single regional trauma center. Of them, 18 patients with NDUSI were reviewed retrospectively.

Results

The incidence of NDUSI was 2.5 % of all spine fractures. In 17 of 18 patients (94.7 %), NDUSI was caused by a high-energy trauma. Nine patients (50.0 %) exhibited complete neurological deficit. Spinal cord injury occurred in the cranial injured region in all American Spinal Injury Association grade A cases. In one case, a second fracture was overlooked at the initial examination.

Conclusion

NDUSI are common in cases of high-energy trauma and should be taken into consideration at the initial examination. A second fracture may be easily overlooked because of the high frequency of concomitant severe spinal cord injury in the cranial injured region and/or loss of consciousness due to associated injuries. To avoid overlooking injuries, full spine computed tomography is useful at the initial examination. Operative reduction and internal fixation with instrumentation through a posterior approach is recommendable for cases of NDUSI. In elderly patients, a very rapid stabilizing surgery should be planned before aspiration pneumonia occurs or the pulmonary condition worsens.

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