Management of Acute Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: A Review of the Literature.


Traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI) is a debilitating disease that poses significant functional and economic burden on both the individual and societal levels. Prognosis is dependent on the extent of the spinal injury and the severity of neurological dysfunction. If not treated rapidly, patients with TSCI can suffer further secondary damage and experience escalating disability and complications. It is important to quickly assess the patient to identify the location and severity of injury to make a decision to pursue a surgical and/or conservative management. However, there are many conditions that factor into the management of TSCI patients, ranging from the initial presentation of the patient to long-term care for optimal recovery. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the etiologies of spinal cord injury and the complications that may arise, and present an algorithm to aid in the management of TSCI.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Wang, Timothy Y, Christine Park, Hanci Zhang, Shervin Rahimpour, Kelly R Murphy, C Rory Goodwin, Isaac O Karikari, Khoi D Than, et al. (2021). Management of Acute Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: A Review of the Literature. Frontiers in surgery, 8. p. 698736. 10.3389/fsurg.2021.698736 Retrieved from

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Courtney Rory Goodwin

Associate Professor of Neurosurgery

Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Radiation Oncology, Orthopedic Surgery.
Director of Spine Oncology,
Associate Residency Program Director
Third Year Study Program Director Neurosciences, Duke University School of Medicine
Director of Spine Metastasis, Duke Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis, Department of Neurosurgery
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center


Khoi Duc Than

Professor of Neurosurgery

I chose to pursue neurosurgery as a career because of my fascination with the human nervous system. In medical school, I developed a keen interest in the diseases that afflict the brain and spine and gravitated towards the only field where I could help treat these diseases with my own hands. I focus on disorders of the spine where my first goal is to help patients avoid surgery if at all possible. If surgery is needed, I treat patients using the most advanced minimally invasive techniques available in order to minimize pain, blood loss, and hospital stay, while maximizing recovery, neurologic function, and quality of life. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am an avid sports fan and love to eat. I try to stay physically fit by going to the gym and playing ice hockey.


Muhammad Abd-El-Barr

Associate Professor of Neurosurgery

As a Neurosurgeon with fellowship training in Spine Surgery, I have dedicated my professional life to treating patients with spine disorders. These include spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, herniated discs and spine tumors. I incorporate minimally-invasive spine (MIS) techniques whenever appropriate to minimize pain and length of stay, yet not compromise on achieving the goals of surgery, which is ultimately to get you back to the quality of life you once enjoyed. I was drawn to medicine and neurosurgery for the unique ability to incorporate the latest in technology and neuroscience to making patients better. I will treat you and your loved ones with the same kind of care I would want my loved ones to be treated with. In addition to my clinical practice, I will be working with Duke Bioengineers and Neurobiologists on important basic and translational questions surrounding spinal cord injuries (SCI), which we hope to bring to clinical relevance.

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