Sudden quadriplegia after a minor trauma. The role of preexisting spinal stenosis

Hossein Firooznia, Jung H. Ahn, Mahvash Rafii, Kristian T. Ragnarsson

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44 Scopus citations


Three patients are described who became quadriplegic after a minor trauma to the spine without suffering a spinal fracture dislocation. Radiologic investigation revealed marked stenosis of the spinal canal, due to developmental stenosis with superimposed degenerative changes in two patients, and calcification of posterior longitudinal ligament of the spine in one. Two patients recovered almost completely with conservative measures. The spinal cord may be able to tolerate slowly increasing mechanical pressure for many years and conform to the shape of the spinal canal without causing any neurological symptoms. However, when stenosis is severe, any additional pressure, for example, swelling and edema from trauma, may cause a neurologic catastrophe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-168
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcification of spinal ligaments
  • Minor trauma
  • Quadriplegia
  • Spinal stenosis


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