Computed tomography of the spine as an important diagnostic tool in the management of war missile spinal trauma

Abstract

Twenty-two patients with spinal injury were evaluated by plain radiography immediately after hospital admission. In 14 patients whose condition was stable, we performed computed tomography (CT) scanning through the involved segments. To provide better planning before neurosurgical management, we divided the vertebral column in thirds. According to this division, we concluded that these injuries are mostly extensive, severely damaging all three thirds of the vertebral column and accompanying neural structures in the majority of cases. The information acquired by CT concerning bony fragments, bone destruction, dural tear, spinal cord and nerve root compression, and neural damage directly influenced the surgical management. All patients except one underwent surgery while associated injuries of other organs were given priority in management. Injuries of the thoracic and the lumbar spine were the most common ones, frequently found in association with lesions of nearby organs. Penetrating injuries with a dural lesion were present in the majority of cases, while spinal cord injury was obvious in some. They were all well visualized using spinal CT scanning. Our view is that the role of CT is essential in guiding surgical management of war missile injuries to the spine.

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Received: 18 February 1997

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Splavski, B., Šarić, G., Vranković, D. et al. Computed tomography of the spine as an important diagnostic tool in the management of war missile spinal trauma. Arch Orth Traum Surg 117, 360–363 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004020050266

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Keywords

  • Compute Tomography
  • Spinal Cord
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Nerve Root
  • Vertebral Column