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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2004 May 1;29(9):E181-4.

Complete cervical intervertebral disc extrusion with spinal cord injury in the absence of facet dislocation: a case report.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. james.yue@yale.edu

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

Complete cervical disc complex extrusion, defined as the extrusion of both cartilaginous end-plates, the entire nucleus pulposus, and portions of the anulus fibrosus, is rare. A case of complete cervical disc complex extrusion with spinal cord injury in the absence of facet dislocation or subluxation in an obtunded patient is reported.

OBJECTIVE:

To report an unusual presentation of spinal cord injury and the occurrence of complete traumatic cervical disc complex extrusion in the absence of facet dislocation and normal plain radiographic findings.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:

Traumatic cervical disc herniation occurs in 54% to 80% of patients with facet dislocation. A report of complete extrusion of a cervical intervertebral disc complex (cartilaginous endplate, anulus, and nucleus pulposus) with spinal cord injury in the absence of dislocation has not been described, to the best of the authors' knowledge.

METHODS:

A clinical and radiographic review of such a case of complete traumatic cervical disc complex herniation in the absence of dislocation was performed.

RESULTS:

Plain radiographic imaging did not show any injury. A nondisplaced fracture of the left inferior facet joint was evident on computed tomography. The diagnosis of C4-C5 intervertebral disc extrusion was made only after magnetic resonance imaging. The vacuum effect of complete disc extrusion created a "white-out" appearance to the disc space on the sagittal T2 magnetic resonance image. The patient underwent anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with additional posterior cervical fusion. He subsequently regained functional strength against gravity in two of four limbs. He remains completely paraparetic in the left upper extremity and partially paraparetic in the left lower extremity.

CONCLUSION:

The case report highlights the occurrence of complete traumatic cervical disc extrusion in the absence of facet dislocation with normal plain radiographic findings and consequent spinal cord injury, which can accompany such an injury.

PMID:
15105683
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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