, Volume 73, Issue 9, pp 829-831

SCIWORA-spinal cord injury without radiological abnormality

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Abstract

Following trauma, the commonly used radiological investigations, plain radiographs and computed tomography (CT) studies do not rule out injury to the spinal cord. This is especially true for children, as an entity known by the acronym SCIWORA (spinal cord injury without radiological abnormality) exists and the changes may be picked up only on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Early treatment (within 6 hours) with high dose methylprednisolone improves the outcome. Spinal trauma being common it is possible that the burden of neurological handicap following this can be reduced by increasing awareness and early treatment with steroids. In the community, pediatricians are often the first medical contact after spinal trauma and awareness of the lacune of conventional imaging techniques is important especially if clinical symptoms pertaining to the spine are present. The community pediatrician is hereby made aware of the need to investigate spinal trauma with a MRI for possible SCIWORA situation as it generates a possiblity for therapeutic intervention to alter the outcome positively.