Spinal emergencies

B. C. Kelley, P. M. Arnold, K. K. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


True spinal emergencies are rare and represent a potential loss of function if not treated properly. This review describes the most frequently encountered spinal emergencies. Early diagnosis is the key to preventing significant morbidity in the form of permanent disability. The recognition of red flags, followed by a thorough neurologic exam and appropriate imaging, should prompt a thorough examination with a heightened sense of urgency regarding the workup for serious forms of pathology. Spinal emergencies threaten loss of function if not treated properly. Providers must be aware of the presenting symptoms and be able to accurately interpret imaging results in order to promptly diagnose and treat these conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-129
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Neurosurgical Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency treatment
  • Epidural abscess
  • Hematoma, epidural, spinal
  • Intervertebral disc displacement
  • Neoplasm metastasis
  • Spinal cord
  • Wounds and injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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