High cervical spinal cord injury in neonates delivered with forceps: report of 15 cases

Obstet Gynecol. 1995 Oct;86(4 Pt 1):589-94. doi: 10.1016/0029-7844(95)00213-b.


Objective: To inform obstetricians of a serious complication of forceps rotations of 90 degrees or more--high cervical spinal cord injury in neonates.

Methods: We reviewed the obstetric aspects of 15 cases of high cervical spinal cord birth injury diagnosed during 1982-1994 at two tertiary-care children's hospitals in Canada.

Results: The common feature in all cases was a forceps cephalic delivery, almost always a rotation of 90 degrees or more from the occipitoposterior or occipitotransverse position.

Conclusion: High cervical spinal cord injury in neonates is a rare but specific complication of forceps rotation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Birth Injuries / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neck
  • Obstetrical Forceps / adverse effects*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / etiology*