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Pathophysiology, causes, and management of non-traumatic spinal injury 

Pathophysiology, causes, and management of non-traumatic spinal injury
Pathophysiology, causes, and management of non-traumatic spinal injury

Oliver Flower

and Matthew Mac Partlin

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date: 01 July 2022

Non-traumatic spinal cord injury (NTSCI) is at least as common as traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI). It affects both sexes equally and an older population than TSCI. It is a devastating condition with immense functional implications for the individuals involved. There is a wide spectrum of aetiologies with varying pathophysiology and knowledge of these is important to avoid delay in diagnosis and time-critical treatment. The most common causes described in case series in developed countries are degenerative disc disease, canal stenosis, tumours, vascular diseases and inflammatory conditions. History and examination may help direct investigations, but magnetic resonance imaging is usually required. Management of NTSCI focuses on diagnosing and treating the precipitating cause, supportive management, and preventing complications. The outcomes of non-traumatic spinal cord injury are similar to those of traumatic spinal cord injury and depend on the grade and level of injury, pre-morbid status, and concurrent co-morbidities.

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