Cervical injuries scored according to the Subaxial Injury Classification system: An analysis of the literature.

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This article has been peer reviewed. It was published in: Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine.

Volume 5, Issue 2, 1 July 2014, Pages 65-70.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.4103/0974-8237.139200.

Copyright © Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine


INTRODUCTION: The Subaxial Injury Classification (SLIC) system and severity score has been developed to help surgeons in the decision-making process of treatment of subaxial cervical spine injuries. A detailed description of all potential scored injures of the SLIC is lacking.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a systematic review in the PubMed database from 2007 to 2014 to describe the relationship between the scored injuries in the SLIC and their eventual treatment according to the system score.

RESULTS: Patients with an SLIC of 1-3 points (conservative treatment) are neurologically intact with the spinous process, laminar or small facet fractures. Patients with compression and burst fractures who are neurologically intact are also treated nonsurgically. Patients with an SLIC of 4 points may have an incomplete spinal cord injury such as a central cord syndrome, compression injuries with incomplete neurologic deficits and burst fractures with complete neurologic deficits. SLIC of 5-10 points includes distraction and rotational injuries, traumatic disc herniation in the setting of a neurological deficit and burst fractures with an incomplete neurologic deficit.

CONCLUSION: The SLIC injury severity score can help surgeons guide fracture treatment. Knowledge of the potential scored injures and their relationships with the SLIC are of paramount importance for spine surgeons who treated subaxial cervical spine injuries.

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