Study Design: A retrospective radiographic study with a minimum 2-year follow-up. Objective: To evaluate the relationships between the cervical articular facets' morphology and the incidence of traumatic cervical spinal cord injury (CSCI) without major fracture or dislocation. Setting: Spinal Injuries Center, Japan. Methods: This study included 113 patients with traumatic CSCI without major fracture or dislocation. Eighty-four healthy volunteers without neurological deficits or cervical cord pathology on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were defined as control subjects. We used a plain sagittal radiograph to measure the facet sagittal angles (FSA) at four cervical segments in all the CSCI patients and controls. We defined the FSA as the angle between the inferior margin of the superior cervical spinal body and the inferior articular process of the superior vertebra. Results: Most frequent incidence of CSCI was seen at C3-4 segment (54%). With respect to CSCI at C3-4 segment, 55.7% of the subjects showed smallest FSA at C3-4 segment. Conclusion: Most of the traumatic CSCI at C3-4 segment showed raised cervical articular facets at C3-4 segment. On the basis of our results, we hypothesized that the raised cervical articular facets might have an important role in the etiology of traumatic CSCI. The cervical spinal cord at the C3-4 segment might receive the highest load during acute hyperextension of the cervical spine because of the C3-4 articular facets' morphology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology