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J Craniovertebr Junction Spine. 2011 Jul;2(2):67-72. doi: 10.4103/0974-8237.100057.

Evaluation of the subaxial injury classification system.

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Department of Neurology, Neurosurgery Division, State University of Campinas, Campinas-SP, Brazil.



Retrospective clinical study of patients treated for subaxial cervical spine trauma (SCST) at a tertiary medical center.


Evaluate the validity of the Subaxial Injury Classification (SLIC) system in surgical versus non-surgical decision making for SCST.


Age >12 years, presence of SCST with complete clinical and radiological (CT and MRI) data.


Patients with incomplete radiographic or clinical data, pathological fractures, isolated upper cervical trauma (occiput to C2), isolated transverse process or spinous process fractures, chronic or age indeterminate fractures, isolate MRI findings, and severe systemic trauma with death prior to either surgical or non-surgical treatment.


Fourteen patients were treated non-surgically (C), whereas 24 were treated surgically (S). In the C group, the SLIC score ranged from 0 to 5 points (standard deviation [SD] = 1.20 points; mean 1.07; median 1). Just 1 patient had an SLIC score greater than 2 (7.1% of the patients). In the S group, the SLIC score ranged from 1 to 10 points (standard deviation [SD] = 2.03 points; mean 5.6; median 6). Just 2 patients had an SLIC score smaller than 4 (both with 1 point each, 8.3% of the total group). All the other 22 (accounting for 91.6%) patients had an SLIC of 4 or more points.


Our study suggests that the SLIC classification looks to be a promising system to aid spinal surgeons in the decision-making process of subaxial cervical trauma, but a large prospective cohort study is required.


Cervical spine trauma; classification; injurity severity score; spinal cord injury

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