Is there a right time for surgery in paraplegic patients secondary to non traumatic spinal cord compression?

Paraplegia is a well-defined state of complete motor deficit in lower limbs, regardless of sensory involvement. The cause of paraplegia usually guides treatment, however, some controversies remain about the time and benefits for spinal cord decompression in nontraumatic paraplegic patients, especially after 48 hours of the onset of paraplegia. The objective of this study was to evaluate the benefits of spinal cord decompression in such patients. We describe three patients with paraplegia secondary to non-traumatic spinal cord compression without sensory deficits, and who were surgically treated after more than 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. All patients, even those with paraplegia during more than 48 hours, had benefits from spinal cord decompression like recovery of gait ability. The duration of paraplegia, which influences prognosis, is not a contra-indication for surgery. The preservation of sensitivity in this group of patients should be considered as a positive prognostic factor when surgery is taken into account.

Decompression; Paraplegia; Spinal injuries

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