Objective: Cervical spinal canal stenosis is a well-known risk factor for spinal cord injury. In some patients, spinal cord injury is the first symptom of spinal stenosis. Therefore, some authors recommend preventive decompression of the spinal canal in asymptomatic patients with spinal stenosis. In this study, we aimed to determine the outcome of patients with spinal cord injury associated with cervical spinal canal stenosis and the rate of previously asymptomatic patients.
Material and Methods: Data of 15 consecutive patients were evaluated. Improvement of neurological deficits during follow-up was accepted as good outcome and mortality and unchanging neurological deficits were accepted as worse outcome.
Results: All patients were male, aged between 44 and 85 years. High-energy traumas caused injury in 7 of the cases and low-energy traumas in the others. Nine cases had central cord injury and 6 had other types of traumas. Only 2 patients had been diagnosed with minor symptoms associated with cervical canal stenosis before trauma, while the other patients had been asymptomatic.
One patient did not consent to undergo an operation and two others could not be operated because of their general status; the latter 2 patients died. The other 12 patients were decompressed 0 to 40 days after trauma. Two other patients with severe transverse-type cord injury also died postoperatively. The other patients were followed for 1 to 48 months (22.7±17.7 months). In 2 patients, neurological deficits had not improved on last follow-up. Deficits had completely or partly improved in the other patients, including the one who had not accepted the operation.
Central cord injury had a significantly better prognosis than other types (p=0.0019). Age, cervical canal diameter, and motor and sensory scores of the American Spinal Injury Association scale, type of trauma, and level of spinal cord injury were not significantly different in the patients with good and worse prognosis.
Conclusion: The rate of asymptomatic patients before trauma was very high in patients with spinal cord injury associated with cervical spinal canal stenosis. Therefore, the treatment decision must be carefully assessed in asymptomatic cervical spinal stenosis patients.
Catastrophic consequences of spinal trauma may be seen in patients with cervical spinal canal stenosis even in asymptomatic patients. Central cord syndrome had a good prognosis in these patients. Other types of injuries such as transverse and motor types had a worse outcome.
Key words: cervical spinal canal stenosis, spinal cord injuries, spinal cord trauma
Article Language: Turkish English