Neurological Impairment Recovery in Surgically Treated Patients With Nontraumatic Spinal Cord Injury

J Am Acad Orthop Surg Glob Res Rev. 2022 Aug 11;6(8):e22.00066. doi: 10.5435/JAAOSGlobal-D-22-00066. eCollection 2022 Aug 1.


Introduction: The incidence of nontraumatic spinal cord injury (NTSCI) is reported to be higher than that of traumatic spinal cord injury in many countries, making it an area of growing significance.

Objectives: With the aging of the global population in coming decades, it is anticipated that the incidence of NTSCIs will increase dramatically. Our aim was to identify and report the causes, patterns, and outcomes of NTSCI in a tertiary care center.

Methods: We have reviewed all adult patients who had a NTSCI and were surgically treated with a minimum follow-up of 12 months postoperatively. Demographic and clinical data were collected. Preoperative and postoperative American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) impairment scales and past follow-up outcomes were assessed.

Results: Of 164 patients, 95 (58%) had full recovery and reached ASIA E score at their last follow-up while 69 (42%) were not able to achieve full recovery till ASIA E score. Urinary incontinence and/or bowel incontinence on admission, degenerative pathologies, and thoracic injury level were all notable indicators of limited ASIA score improvement at the last follow-up.

Conclusions: Surgically treated NTSCI could result in good neurological recovery with a low complication rate.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Spinal Cord Injuries* / complications
  • Spinal Cord Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries* / surgery