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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1995 Aug 1;20(15):1664-7.

Decreased width of the spinal canal in patients with chronic symptoms after whiplash injury.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, University Hospital of Northern Sweden, Umeå, Sweden.

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

The sagittal diameter of the cervical spinal canal was measured on standard lateral radiographs of 48 consecutive patients with acute whiplash injury. A follow-up was done 12 months after injury.

OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between spinal canal width and chronic symptoms after whiplash injury.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:

A narrow sagittal diameter of the cervical spinal canal has been correlated with neurologic deficits in degenerative conditions and after fractures. The authors are not aware of previous studies on whiplash patients related to this area.

METHODS:

Forty-eight consecutive patients were evaluated for whiplash trauma after car accidents. Twenty-four patients (12 men and 12 women; mean age, 37 years) had persistent symptoms after 12 months, while 24 patients (12 men and 12 women; mean age, 34 years) were asymptomatic. All measurements were done from standard lateral radiographs with a graphic digitizer connected to a microcomputer. Three anteroposterior and one oblique measurement of the canal were reconstructed for each vertebrae from C2-C6. Multivariate analysis of variance was used to evaluate any association between gender, remaining symptoms at follow-up, and the recorded values of the spinal canal width.

RESULTS:

The spinal canal was significantly smaller in the patients with persistent symptoms than in the asymptomatic group. A significant difference also was found between men and women.

CONCLUSION:

Narrow diameter of the cervical spinal canal is unfavorable in patients with whiplash.

PMID:
7482014
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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