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Development of an Animal Model of Thoracolumbar Burst Fracture-Induced Acute Spinal Cord Injury

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Technical Report,01 May 2014,30 Apr 2016

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Johns Hopkins University Baltimore United States

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Background Spinal cord injury SCI leads to permanent disability and has been increasingly observed in warfighters after introduction of more survivable vehicles MRAP. Rodent research has led to many advances in SCI treatment, but successful clinical translation remains limited. Here we describe a large animal model of blunt acute traumatic SCI using a custom designed computer controlled spinal cord impactor. Methods Thirteen female Yucatan miniature swine were subjected to spinal cord impact with a custom-made controlled spinal cord impactor and balloon compression. Neurological function was assessed for seven days after injury. Magnetic resonance imaging MRI and histology were performed on postoperative day one and seven respectively. Results The custom spinal cord impactor delivered consistent, predictable, impacts to the spinal cord. MRI and histology showed a positive correlation between volume and severity of spinal cord injury and the impact force. Both the PTIBS and PNM scales also correlated with the target impact force. Conclusions This novel and custom spinal cord impactor can reliably produce a gradient of ventral blunt SCI. This could prove to be a valuable tool to investigate SCI seen in burst fracture and other traumatic injuries, and may represent a useful intermediate step in evaluation of SCI treatments.

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