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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1986 Feb;146(2):277-84.

Cervical spinal cord injuries in patients with cervical spondylosis.

Abstract

Eighty-eight patients over age 40 with traumatic cervical spinal cord injuries were clinically and radiographically evaluated, and comparison was made with 35 spinal cord injury patients under age 36. While most older patients sustained obvious bony and/or ligamentous damage commensurate with their neurologic findings, 25 (28%) of the 88 patients had no demonstrable bony abnormalities and 17 (20%) of the 88 patients had only minimal evidence of bony injury. Of particular interest are the patients with severe cord injuries, yet no bony abnormalities, who seem to form a distinct subgroup of the cervical spinal cord injury patient on the basis of radiographic and clinical features. Of these 25 patients, 24 (96%) had severe cervical spondylosis. Fourteen (56%) of the 25 patients were injured in falls, five (36%) of these 14 being of a seemingly trivial nature. Of the 42 patients with minimal or no demonstrable bony abnormalities, 33 (79%) were evaluated with plain tomography and no occult fractures or other significant pathology was demonstrated. Pantopaque myelography in 27 (64%) of the 42 cases revealed no extruded disk or other surgical lesion in any patient. In large measure, these injuries can be attributed to cervical spondylosis, which narrows the canal and makes the cord more susceptible to compression by the bulging ligamenta flava during hyperextension.

PMID:
3484576
DOI:
10.2214/ajr.146.2.277
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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