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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1989 Jan;14(1):37-40.

Clinical presentation of spinal cord concussion.

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Section of Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


Spinal cord concussion is a transient disturbance of spinal cord function, with or without vertebral damage and no demonstrable pathologic changes, that results from a rapid change in velocity following trauma, and resolves within 48 hours. In a retrospective review of patients with spinal injury referred to a tertiary care center, spinal cord concussion was observed in 3.7% of patients. Thirteen cases are presented. A variety of clinical presentations may occur, all of which can be explained on the basis of the magnitude or direction of acceleration of the spinal cord. The cervical cord is most commonly affected, but concussion can occur at any level of the spinal cord. Spinal cord concussion is often associated with pre-existing vertebral abnormalities that result in narrowing of the spinal canal or areas of hypermobility.

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