Fractures and Dislocations of the Cervical Spine: An End-Result Study

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Abstract

1 . For the dangerous period between the time of injury and definitive treatment, and while being moved about during definitive treatment, the patient should be recumbent, at all times, on a firm stretcher or bed. An adjustable traction neck brace should be worn during these times, applied in the long axis of the spine in the neutral position.

2. Skull traction is the best proved means of protectitsg the cord during definitive treatment of cervical-spine iujuries.

3. Skull tnactious will accomplish reduction and maintain it in a high pnoportion of injuries. It is comfortable and greatly facilitates nursing care.

4. Complete neductious is ideal; satisfactory reductions may include those in which there is less than 0.3 centimeter of decrease us the anteroposterior diameter of the vertebral camsal. Open reductious was accomplished in seven patients, in six of whom skull traction had failed.

5. Internal fixation and surgical fusion provide reliable stabilization of the injured vertebrae. They appear to protect the cord against attritin in patients with a vertebralcanal diameter of less than tsormal.

6. The treatment of cervical-spine injuries is highly specialized; technical errors its treatment may be fatal. A trained autd experienced operatiuig team is essential.

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