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It has long been recognized that in the handling of vertebral fractures and dislocations all attention must be directed to protection of the spinal cord. With this in mind, manipulation of a fracture and attempts at reduction of the displacement were frowned on for many years. The reasons given were: (1) If the cord was damaged by the original trauma, the damage is irreparable, and additional movement of the fragments, even toward a better position, can cause more disturbance and cannot improve the condition of the damaged cord, and (2) if the cord was not damaged, a skeletal deformity is of little consequence. With physicians of this school of thought treatment remained simple immobilization to allow consolidation.
Recently, however, results have been obtained by careful manipulation and traction which seem to indicate clearly the advantage of reducing the bony deformity when this can be accomplished without further injury to the
Hoen TI. A METHOD OF SKELETAL TRACTION FOR TREATMENT OF FRACTURE DISLOCATION OF CERVICAL VERTEBRAE. Arch NeurPsych. 1936;36(1):158–161. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1936.02260070168012
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