Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
Asian Spine J. 2013 Dec;7(4):359-64. doi: 10.4184/asj.2013.7.4.359. Epub 2013 Nov 28.

Concept of gunshot wound spine.

Author information

  • Department of Neurosurgery, SMS Medical College and Hospital, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.


Gunshot wound (GSW) to the spine which was earlier common in the military population is now being increasingly noted in civilians due to easy availability of firearms of low velocity either licensed or illegal combined with an increased rate of violence in the society. Contributing to 13% to 17% of all spinal injuries, the management of complex injury to the spine produced by a GSW remains controversial. Surgery for spinal cord injuries resulting from low velocity GSWs is reserved for patients with progressive neurologic deterioration, persistent cerebrospinal fluid fistulae, and sometimes for incomplete spinal cord injuries. Surgery may also be indicated to relieve active neural compression from a bullet, bone, intervertebral disk, or a hematoma within the spinal canal. Spinal instability rarely results from a civilian GSW. Cauda equina injuries from low velocity GSWs have a better overall outcome after surgery. In general, the decision to perform surgery should be made on consideration of multiple patient factors that can vary over a period of time. Although there have been plenty of individual case reports regarding GSW to the spine, a thorough review of unique mechanical and biological factors that affect the final outcome has been lacking. We review the key concepts of pathogenesis and management of GSW to the spine and propose an algorithm to guide decision making in such cases.


Bullet injury spine; Gunshot spine; Gunshot wound spine

Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (2)Free text

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Publication Types

Publication Types

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Korean Society of Spine Surgery Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk