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June 1976

Surgical Stabilization of the Cervical Spine After Trauma

Author Affiliations

From Rancho Los Amigos Hospital, Downey, Calif. Dr Stauffer is now with the Division of Orthopedic Surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, Ill. Dr Rhoades is now with the Scott and White Clinic, Temple, Tex.

Arch Surg. 1976;111(6):652-657. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1976.01360240032005

• Surgical stabilization should be individualized for each patient. The procedure used should provide both immediate and prolonged stability at the site of instability. The choice of procedure depends on knowledge of the structures providing stability and of the mechanism of injury. Pure flexion injuries without comminution or disruption of ligaments are stable and do not require surgical treatment. Flexion-rotation dislocations, with either unilateral or bilateral facet dislocation, should be treated by posterior open reduction and fusion if they cannot be reduced by a closed method or if there is demonstrable motion on three-month flexion-extension roentgenograms. A comminuted burst ("teardrop") fracture produced by axial loading of the vertebral bodies should be stabilized by an anterior cortical strut graft for early mobilization and realignment of the spinal column to prevent progressive deformity.

(Arch Surg 111:652-657, 1976)