Introduction: Spinal column injury, especially at the level of the cervical spine, is one of the common causes of death due to trauma and significant morbidity, so, timely diagnosis and management of these patients can significantly decrease the associated mortality and morbidity. Surgical and nonsurgical methods, or a combination, have been used for almost a century in patients with unstable cervical spine lesions.The purpose of this study was to compare the success rate and capacities of the nonsurgical versus surgical approach in the management of unstable lower cervical spine lesions and their sequels.
Methods: Forty patients admitted to hospitals affiliated with Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in Shiraz, Iran from August 2002 to August 2004 with unstable cervical injuries were divided into 2 equal groups (halo versus surgery), and in each group patients were divided into 3 categories based on the type of lesion. The percentage of sagittal and degree of sagittal angulation were chosen as criteria for treatment outcome, and each was measured on radiological images and recorded at the time of admission and after 6 months
Results: Members of both groups showed significant improvements in the criteria after treatment. The amount of correction in subluxation was not significantly different between the 2 groups; however, the surgical approach resulted in a significantly better correction of angulation
Conclusions: The nonsurgical approach can be an acceptable alternative to surgical correction in selected patients with various lower cervical spine injuries and yielded comparable results; however, a large sample size and longer follow-up may be necessary for verifications
Patient Care: proper selection of treatment modality
Learning Objectives: To compare the success rate and capacities of nonsurgical versus surgical management of lower cervical spine injury