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Article Dans Une Revue (Article De Synthèse) Child's Nervous System Année : 2022

Spinal lesions caused by abusive trauma in young children.


Background and purpose Spinal lesions are increasingly recognized as an integral part of the child abuse spectrum; however, the description of lesions, their biomechanics, true incidence, clinical impact, and medicolegal implications are poorly understood. Material and methods We report from the literature and our personal experience on abusive spinal lesions (ASL) in children under 3 years, compared with cases of abusive head injuries (AHI) without spinal lesions on the one hand and with accidental spinal lesions on the other. Results Between 2002 and 2021, we collected 12 observations of ASL, 4 male and 8 female. These were compared with 338 cases of infants having AHI without ASL and 18 cases of accidental spinal trauma in the same age group. Fractures were found in 10 cases of ASL: wedge fracture in 9, and complete disruption with paraplegia in one, which required emergency reduction and stabilization with a good motor recovery. Two patients had intraspinal hemorrhagic lesions without fracture, associated in one case with tetraplegia which contributed to the fatal outcome. ASL affected girls more often and had a more severe clinical presentation; more than half of ASL involved the lumbar levels, which were unaffected in accidental traumas. Conclusions ASL are not exceptional, and their presence corroborates cranial lesions indicating child abuse. Two etiologies emerge from this study: wedge fractures and cervical spinal cord lesions caused by shaking and the rare thoraco-lumbar dislocation indicating a particularly violent assault. Systematic MRI study of the spine is warranted in cases of child abuse.
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Dates et versions

hal-04419096 , version 1 (14-02-2024)



Matthieu Vinchon, N. Noulé, Amelie Toubol, Melodie-Anne Karnoub. Spinal lesions caused by abusive trauma in young children.. Child's Nervous System, 2022, Child's Nervous System, ⟨10.1007/s00381-022-05778-z⟩. ⟨hal-04419096⟩


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