Spinal cord transection - penetrating trauma

Case contributed by Dr Salma Babikir Ahmed Erabi
Diagnosis certain


Stab wound injury in the back by a knife, presented with paraplegia.

Patient Data

Age: 20 years
Gender: Male

T2-weighted magnetic resonance image reveals a horizontal line of high signal intensity in the thoracic spinal cord at the D3/4 disc space level which represents spinal cord transection, cord swelling and edema around the injured level are noted, with adjacent (2x1.9x2.3 cm) fluid intensity collection located within the left paraspinal muscle posterior to lamina of D3 with evidence of a connection with CSF canal compatible with meningeal injury and CSF leak.

There is bone marrow edema in the spinous process and laminae of D3 with a bony defect in the left lamina compatible with a fracture.

No evidence of hematoma in blood sensitive sequences.

The injury tract of stab wound seen extending through the left trapezius muscle.

Case Discussion

This is a case of severe stab wound injury with vertebral fracture and transection of the cord.

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