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Early Decompression (< 8 h) after Traumatic Cervical Spinal Cord Injury Improves Functional Outcome as Assessed by Spinal Cord Independence Measure after One Year.
Grassner, L; Wutte, C; Klein, B; Mach, O; Riesner, S; Panzer, S; Vogel, M; Bühren, V; Strowitzki, M; Vastmans, J; Maier, D;
J Neurotrauma. 2016; 33(18): 1658-1666.
Full papers/articles (Journal)


Bühren Volker
Grassner Lukas
Klein Barbara
Panzer Stephanie
Wutte Christof


There is an ongoing controversy about the optimal timing for surgical decompression after acute traumatic cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). For this reason, we performed a retrospective study of patients who were operated on after traumatic cervical SCI at the Trauma Center Murnau, Germany, and who met inclusion as well as exclusion criteria (n = 70 patients). Follow-up data were collected prospectively according to the European Multicenter Study about Spinal Cord Injury (EMSCI) protocol over a period of 1 year. Early decompression was defined as within the first 8 h after the insult (n = 35 patients). Primary outcome was the difference in the SCIM (Spinal Cord Independence Measure) 1 year after the trauma. After the follow-up period, patients who were decompressed earlier had a significantly higher SCIM difference (45.8 vs. 27.1, p < 0.005). A regression analysis showed that timing of decompression, age, as well as basal AIS (American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale) and basal SCIM scores were independent predictors for a better functional outcome (SCIM). Further, patients from the early decompression group had better AIS grades (p < 0.006) and a higher AIS conversion rate (p < 0.029). Additionally, this cohort also had a better total motor performance as well as upper extremity motor function after 1 year (p < 0.025 and p < 0.002). The motor and neurological levels of patients who were operated on within 8 h were significantly more caudal (p < 0.003 and p < 0.014) after 1 year. The present study suggests that early decompression after traumatic cervical SCI might have a positive impact on the functional and neurological outcome of affected individuals.

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)

cervical spine
spinal cord injury
spine surgery