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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 39-46

Diagnosis and management of acute traumatic central cord syndrome: Present consensus and narrative review

1 Department of Spine Services, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi, India
2 Udai Omni Hospital and Godha Spine, Ortho and Poly Clinic, Hyderabad, India

Correspondence Address:
Harvinder S Chhabra
Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Vasant Kunj, Sector C, New Delhi 110070.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ISJ.ISJ_40_21

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This is a narrative review to get an overview of the diagnosis and management of the acute traumatic cervical central cord syndrome (ATCCS) with an evidence-based approach. We considered articles that addressed the gray areas in the management of ATCCS, that is, the need for surgical intervention and its timing. The ATCCS is the most common form of incomplete spinal cord injury. The presence of instability and deteriorating neurology have been absolute indications for surgery. The opinion has been divided between early surgeries vis-à-vis monitoring for recovery and delayed surgery if neurological recovery plateaus. An extensive search revealed a low level of evidence. With the advent of modern anesthetic as well as surgical techniques and perioperative management, there may be better and faster neurological recovery with surgery. Considering the timing of surgery, even though many articles are propagating the need for early surgery the level of evidence remains low. This narrative review highlights the need for well-conducted prospective studies to resolve the controversy regarding early surgery versus conservative management and delayed surgery if recovery plateaus or on neurological deterioration. Since there is only a low level of evidence in favor of early surgery for ATCCS with no instability and deteriorating neurology, the decision of the surgery and its timing should be left to the surgeon’s judgment, with a plan tailored after assessing risks and benefits.

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