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Spinal Cord. 2003 Nov;41(11):593-9.

Mobility of the spine after spinal surgery in acute spinal cord injury.

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  • 1National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK.



Retrospective study of mobility of the spine.


To study the relation between mobility of the spine, operation and length of surgical stabilisation.


The National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury, UK.


Questionnaires were sent to 99 consecutive acute traumatic spinal cord-injured patients (UK residents) admitted in 1990-1994. All had acute spinal surgery. A total of 68 responded. Their replies, medical records and radiographs were reviewed.


(1) In all, 63 patients had surgery in the cervical, thoracolumbar or lumbar spine; 11 of them had more than two functional spinal units (FSUs) stabilised, 10 of these 11 (91%) had less than satisfactory results in terms of metal failure, improper placement of the implant or functional restriction of spinal mobility (FROSM). A total of 35 had 1-2 FSUs stabilised. None of them had metal failure or improper placement of implant, but 14 (40%) had less than satisfactory result due to FROSM; 17 had laminectomy alone, four of these had FROSM. (2) Five patients had surgery in the thoracic spine. Three of these who had 5-7 FSUs stabilised had no FROSM. Two had laminectomy alone, one of whom had FROSM.


(1) Long surgical stabilisation in the cervical, thoracolumbar and lumbar spines was likely to result in either metal failure or FROSM. (2) Long surgical stabilisation of the thoracic spine was not associated with either metal failure or FROSM. (3) A small proportion of patients had laminectomy alone. One of them who had multiple injuries had FROSM.

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