Acute traumatic central cord syndrome - Experience using surgical decompression with open-door expansile cervical laminoplasty

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32 Scopus citations


Background: Open-door expansile cervical laminoplasty (ODECL) is an effective surgical technique in the treatment of multilevel cervical spondylotic myelopathy. In the present study, we reviewed the safety and short-term neurological outcome after expansile cervical laminoplasty in the treatment of acute central cord syndrome. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our database over a 3-year period (January 1997-January 2001) and identified 69 surgically treated cervical spinal cord injuries, including 29 cases of acute traumatic central cord syndrome (ATCCS). Fifteen of these patients underwent expansile cervical laminoplasty, whereas 14 did not because of radiographic evidence of sagittal instability. We collected data on the preoperative and the immediate postoperative and 3-month neurological examinations. Neurological function was assessed using the Asia Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) grading system. We also reviewed the occurrence of complications and short-term radiological stability after the index procedure. Results: The median age was 56 years. All patients had hyperextension injuries with underlying cervical spondylosis and stenosis in the absence of overt fracture or instability. The average delay from injury to surgery was 3 days. The preoperative ASIA grade scale was grade C, 8 patients, and grade D, 7 patients. There were no cases of immediate postoperative deterioration or at 3 months follow-up. Neurological outcome: 71.4% (10/14) of patients improved 1 ASIA grade when examined 3 months post injury. Conclusions: Surgical intervention consisting of ODECL can be safely applied in the subset of patients with ATCCS without instability who have significant cervical spondylosis/stenosis. Open-door expansile cervical laminoplasty is a safe, low-morbidity, decompressive procedure, and in our patients did not produce neurological deterioration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-510
Number of pages6
JournalSurgical neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Acute traumatic central cord syndrome
  • Cervical laminoplasty
  • Surgical management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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