Analysis of the results of surgical management of traumatic paraplegia


  • Kumar Nitesh Junior Resident, Department of Orthopaedics, Katihar Medical College, Katihar - 854105, Bihar, India
  • Ajay Kumar Mahto Professor & Head, Department of Orthopaedics, Katihar Medical College, Katihar - 854105, Bihar, India



Spinal cord injury, Traumatic paraplegia, Dorsolumbar spine, Decompression, Posterior fixation, Neurological deficit


Background: Thoracolumbar spine fractures are common injuries that can result in significant disability, deformity and neurological deficit. Aim of this study was to evaluate the results of surgical management of traumatic paraplegia, complete or incomplete as classified by Frankel scoring.

Methods: A prospective study was conducted in patients attending outdoor and emergency department of orthopaedics of a tertiary care teaching institute in Katihar Medical College, Katihar (Bihar) with traumatic paraplegia involving the dorsolumbar spine. The duration of the study was July 2014 to July 2016. The important objectives are the time for recovery of various functions like sensory, motor and bowel and bladder function, comparison between early and late decompression, results of posterolateral fusion and time taken for solid bony fusion after operation. Cases selected for these studies were those treated surgically between July 2014 to July 2016. Total 46 cases were selected within a minimum of 6 month post-operative follow up of which 4 cases lost in follow up. Data collected from patients records including age, sex, time from injury to hospitalization, initial neurological status as per Frankel score, MRI findings, surgery performed, postoperative course and neurological status at the time of discharge and latest follow up. Patients lost to follow up were not studied for outcome analysis.

Results: When decompression done within 1st week in incomplete paraplegia 80% of the patients showed return of grade 3 power. In complete paraplegia cases, 11% of the patients had return to power upto grade 3 when decompression done within 1 week where no cases return of grade 3 power when decompression done after2nd and 3rd week.

Conclusions: After recovery from spinal shock, the earlier the surgical decompression done, the better the neurological and bowel/bladder function recovery both in complete and incomplete paraplegic cases. Reduction is better and easy and less time consuming in early decompression than in late. Motor recovery can continue for over 6 month after decompression.



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