alexa Should post-traumatic thoracolumbar Frankel A paraplegia be operated as an emergency? Report of three cases and review of the literature.
Neurology

Neurology

Journal of Spine

Author(s): Launay O, Charles YP, Steib JP

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Abstract Spinal cord injury is an important contributing factor to morbidity. The thoracolumbar junction is a highly vulnerable axial region due to the biomechanical stresses and the risk of conus medullaris injuries in some cases. In the event of an incomplete neurological injury and if the patient's condition is stable, emergency surgical treatment should be considered. Yet, no clear consensus has emerged regarding the treatment modalities of complete injuries but surgical management is advocated to maximize neurological recovery and reduce the risk of decubitus ulcer formation. We report on the cases of three patients with L1 Frankel A paraplegia resulting from injury to the conus medullaris, treated within the first 6 hours from injury and demonstrating a very satisfactory neurological recovery since independent walking could be resumed at 2.5 years follow-up. Persistent urinary sphincter dysfunctions were observed in two of these patients. Early surgical management appears as an important predictive factor for neurological recovery in conus medullaris injuries. We believe that delayed surgical management in patients with complete paraplegia could be an inappropriate treatment option, which should be further studied. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved. This article was published in Orthop Traumatol Surg Res and referenced in Journal of Spine

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