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Penetrating Spinal Injuries

Steinmetz, Michael P. MD*; Krishnaney, Ajit A. MD*; McCormick, William MD*; Benzel, Edward C. MD*†

Original Article
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Penetrating spinal injuries, although not as common as blunt trauma, are important causes of spinal cord injury. Two types of penetrating injuries exist, gunshot wounds and stab wounds. Surgery does not play a significant role in gunshot wounds unless there is incomplete myelopathy with a surgically correctable cause, such as hematoma. Stab wounds have a better prognosis. Moreover, surgery plays a much larger role. Retained foreign objects should be removed after a stab injury, whereas bullet fragments should be left in place.

From the *Department of Neurosurgery, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH; and †Cleveland Clinic Spine Institute, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH.

Reprints: Edward C. Benzel, MD, Cleveland Clinic Spine Institute, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, S-80, Cleveland, OH 44195 (e-mail: benzele@ccf.org).

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.