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Surgical Neurology International


Background: Nonmissile penetrating spinal injury (NMPSI) is an uncommon form of traumatic injury to the spine. Here, we present a comprehensive and contemporary literature review that provides insight into NMPSI-type injuries, their mechanisms, clinical practice, management, and expectations.

Methods: An extensive review of the published literature was conducted in PubMed, OVID Medline, and EMBASE journals for studies of nonmissile penetrating spine injuries. Terms for search included NMPSI and nonmissile penetrating spinal cord injury. No date restrictions were used.

Results: The search yielded only 17 related articles. Cross-checking of articles was conducted to exclude duplicate articles. The 17 articles were screened for their full text and English language availability. We finalized those articles pertaining to the topic.

Conclusion: The mechanism of injury in NMPSI occurs in two different stages. Immediate injury is caused by direct damage to the neurological structures. The delayed injury response is caused by damage to the spinal vasculature and activated immune response pathways. Computed tomography (CT) angiograms or formal diagnostic angiograms are indicated to identify vascular injury or development of pseudoaneurysm and can be performed both preoperatively and postoperatively. Surgically, decompressive procedures include laminectomies and hemilaminectomies. Dural exploration may be indicated if a cerebrospinal fluid leak with fistula develops from dural puncture. Further research and technologies are being developed to provide patients who have suffered NMPSI with more resources for a better quality of life.



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Neurotrauma, Nonmissile, Nonmissile penetrating spinal injury, Penetrating spinal injury