Original Article

European Spine Journal

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 148-152

First online:

Spinal injuries in the pediatric age group: a review of 82 cases of spinal cord and vertebral column injuries

  • M. TurgutAffiliated withDepartment of Neurosurgery, Adnan Menderes University Medical School
  • , G. AkpinarAffiliated withDepartment of Neurosurgery, Hacettepe University Medical School
  • , N. AkalanAffiliated withDepartment of Neurosurgery, Hacettepe University Medical School
  • , O. E. ÖzcanAffiliated withDepartment of Neurosurgery, Hacettepe University Medical School

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A review of 82 children with spinal cord and/or vertebral column injury treated in our department between 1968 and 1993 showed that 67% of the patients were boys and the average age was 11.4 years. The cause, vertebral level, and type of injury, and the severity of neurological injury varied with the age of the patient. The cause of pediatric injuries differed from that of adult injuries in that falls were the most common causative factor (56%) followed by vehicular accidents (23%). The most frequent level of spinal injury was in the cervical region (57%, 47 patients) followed by the lumbar region (16.5%, 13 patients). In our series, 18% of the patients had complete injury and the overall mortality rate was 3.6%. Eleven children (13%) had spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormality (SCIWORA), whereas 39 (47%) had evidence of neurological injury. Although the spinal injury patterns differed between children and adolescents, the outcome was found to be predominantly affected by the type of neurological injury (P<0.05). Children with complete myelopathy uniformly remained with severe neurological dysfunction; children with incomplete myelopathy recovered nearly normal neurological function. Finally, the authors conclude that most spinal injuries can be successfuly managed with nonoperative therapy. The literature is reviewed as to the treatment and outcome of pediatric spinal injuries.

Key words

Pediatric spine Spinal cord injury Spine