Analysis of Surgical Outcome in Patients with Firearm Injury to Spine
Received: 16 July 2018
Accepted after revision: 29 August 2018
23 July 2019 (online)
Aim of Study To see whether surgical intervention in gunshot injuries to the spine leads to recovery in neurologic status.
Methods It is a retrospective study conducted at the Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre (JPNATC), All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, where case records of 20 patients with gunshot injury to the spine, admitted between January 2013 to March 2018, were analyzed.
Result Out of 20 patients, 17 underwent surgical intervention. Entry wound was most common on the back, with the thoracic vertebrae being the most common segment involved. Nine patients had complete spinal cord injury (SCI) at the time of presentation and seven of them underwent surgery. However, only one of these patients showed neurologic improvement at follow-up. Seven patients with canal compromise underwent surgery, and only two of them showed improvement in neurologic status at follow-up. Early surgery was done in 8 out of 16 patients. All 16 patients underwent decompressive procedure, and 3 underwent additional stabilization procedure. Bullet was removed in nine cases. Intraoperative blood loss was minimal in 9 cases, and dural breach was noticed in 14 cases. At follow-up, 56.25% patients showed improvement in neurologic status.
Conclusion Surgical intervention, timing of surgery, amount of intraoperative blood loss, and dural breach had no significant impact on the overall surgical outcome. Neurologic status at the time of presentation is the single most important factor that determines the ultimate outcome. Indication and type of surgical intervention is still an ambiguous topic. Owing to lack of conclusive evidence, we believe that there is role for surgery when it is done with an intention to restore the neurologic function.
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