Injuries to the Vertebral Column and Spinal Cord: A Summary

Spinal Cord Injury: Forensic NeuropathologyThis article is a brief summary of the 19 page article entitled “Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries,” published as a Forensic Science Newsletter on January 15, 2017.

General Information

The earliest known reference to traumatic lesions of the spinal cord are found in the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus.  During World War I, Riddoch, and later Head and Riddoch, gave what are now considered the classic descriptions of spinal transection in humans.  World War II marked the turning point in the understanding and management of spinal injuries. Continue reading Injuries to the Vertebral Column and Spinal Cord: A Summary

Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries

Spine Injury Forensic X-RayForensic Science Newsletter: January 2017

Neuropathology

In this Forensic Science Newsletter we will discuss traumatic spinal cord injuries.

Traumatic lesions of the spinal cord usually result from injuries which cause vertebral fractures.  The spinal cord may, however, be injured by vertebral dislocation without fracture or by penetrating wounds of the canal.

The common sites of injury are at levels of the upper cervical, the mid cervical, the lower cervical, the lower thoracic, and the upper lumbar vertebrae.  In approximately three-fourths of the cases of fracture of the cervical vertebrae, the spinal cord is injured.  Slightly more than half of the fractures of the thoracic spine and only about one-fourth of the fractures of the lumbar spine were associated with spinal cord injury.

Continue reading Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries

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