Traumatic injury of the spinal cord, from either fractured vertebrae or bullet-wounds, is of frequent occurrence, and the proper management of these cases is of great importance both to the medical practitioner and to the surgeon. A proper interpretation of the history of the accident, together with a careful clinical examination, will usually afford such an adequate conception of the nature of the lesion that a prompt decision may be reached as to the efficacy of surgical interference. Several roentgenograms should be made whenever possible, but unless the reading is clear, more credence should be placed on the clinical finding and the history of the accident, if it can be obtained.
In fractures and dislocations of the spinal column, statistics show that in about one-third of the cases the cord escapes injury. The displaced bones, however, may immediately spring back into place, leaving the cord contused, compressed or lacerated. If
WALLACE R. THE SURGICAL TREATMENT OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES WITH REPORT OF CASES. JAMA. 1914;LXII(14):1073-1076. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02560390013005