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Neurosurgery. 2006 May;58(5):920-3; discussion 920-3.

Cervical spine injuries in ocean bathers: wave-related accidents.

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Section of Neurosurgery, Hospital Ameri-med, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, México, CP 48310.



Spine injuries can occur secondary to several aquatic recreational activities. A series of cases of patients who experienced cervical spine injuries secondary to ocean waves accidents is presented. A description and analysis of this kind of injury is performed.


Sixteen patients were treated from January 1999 to May 2005. The mechanism of accident, mechanism of injury, neurological status, radiographic findings, associated injuries, and treatment were analyzed.


These injuries are common among older patients. More severe and devastating injuries occurred in young patients. The most common mechanism of injury is hyperextension associated to spondylosis, which usually caused central cord syndrome.


Wave-related accidents in ocean bathers are secondary to lack of experience of swimming in the ocean and underestimating the danger of waves. Although different types of mechanism of injury occurred, hyperextension was the most common. High-risk patients are older people with preexisting cervical spondylosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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