Bone Joint J. 2023 Mar 15;105-B(4):347-355. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.105B4.BJJ-2023-0111.
Initial treatment of traumatic spinal cord injury remains as controversial in 2023 as it was in the early 19th century, when Sir Astley Cooper and Sir Charles Bell debated the merits or otherwise of surgery to relieve cord compression. There has been a lack of high-class evidence for early surgery, despite which expeditious intervention has become the surgical norm. This evidence deficit has been progressively addressed in the last decade and more modern statistical methods have been used to clarify some of the issues, which is demonstrated by the results of the SCI-POEM trial. However, there has never been a properly conducted trial of surgery versus active conservative care. As a result, it is still not known whether early surgery or active physiological management of the unstable injured spinal cord offers the better chance for recovery. Surgeons who care for patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries in the acute setting should be aware of the arguments on all sides of the debate, a summary of which this annotation presents.
PMID:36924170 | DOI:10.1302/0301-620X.105B4.BJJ-2023-0111