Spinal cord injury in children is fairly uncommon, and research that compares pediatric versus adult spinal cord injury is even more so. A recent research review, however, has revealed a few major differences in the two:
• First, the review found that pediatric patients have a different mechanism of injury. Younger children are more likely to experience injury from a car accident, and adolescents from sports.
• Second, pediatric spinal cord injury patients recover slightly better than adults. Although the research on this is limited, there is some evidence that children are more likely than adults to experience some neurological recovery.
• Third, children who are injured during adolescence are more likely to develop scoliosis as a result.
• Finally, there is no evidence that supports the use of neuroprotective therapies such as steroids after pediatric spinal cord injury.
The reviewers recommended that children who show abnormalities in the neck or neurological exam should be further examined for injury.
Parent S, Mac-Thiong J-M, Roy-Beaudry M, Sosa JF, & Labelle H. Spinal cord injury in the pediatric population: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Neurotrauma. (August 2011).