Pediatric spinal trauma. Review of 122 cases of spinal cord and vertebral column injuries

J Neurosurg. 1988 Jan;68(1):18-24. doi: 10.3171/jns.1988.68.1.0018.


A review of 122 pediatric cases of vertebral column and spinal cord injuries is presented. These relatively uncommon injuries can be characterized by four distinct injury patterns: fracture only, fracture with subluxation, subluxation only, and spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormality. The immature pediatric spine has several anatomical and biomechanical features that distinguish it from the mature adolescent spine and, accordingly, the frequency of the injury type, the level of spine injury, and the incidence of neurological compromise were found to vary with the age of the patient. Follow-up data were obtained in 93% of the cases (median duration 44 months). No patient was made worse by treatment, 89% of the patients with incomplete myelopathy on admission were improved on their last examination, and 20% of the patients with a complete myelopathy had evidence of significant recovery of function. The authors conclude that the outcome after pediatric spinal trauma is good.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Arizona
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Joint Dislocations / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Spinal Injuries / epidemiology*