Trauma: Spinal Cord Injury

Surg Clin North Am. 2017 Oct;97(5):1031-1045. doi: 10.1016/j.suc.2017.06.008.


Injuries to the spinal column and spinal cord frequently occur after high-energy mechanisms of injury, or with lower-energy mechanisms, in select patient populations like the elderly. A focused yet complete neurologic examination during the initial evaluation will guide subsequent diagnostic procedures and early supportive measures to help prevent further injury. For patients with injury to bone and/or ligaments, the initial focus should be spinal immobilization and prevention of inducing injury to the spinal cord. Spinal cord injury is associated with numerous life-threatening complications during the acute and long-term phases of care that all acute care surgeons must recognize.

Keywords: Spinal cord injury; Spinal cord syndromes; Spinal shock; Spine; Spine immobilization; Spine trauma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Humans
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / therapy*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Venous Thromboembolism / etiology