Background: Cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) is a life-threatening condition. Prompt surgical intervention is needed to avoid hemodynamic and respiratory catastrophe. In Indonesia, however, spine surgery is more common in tertiary hospitals and thus might prolong the time gap to surgery due to referral waiting time. Case Description: We performed an emergency surgery for a patient with complete SCI due to unstable cervical fracture. The patient was in spinal shock and experienced respiratory arrest after radiological workup. Stability was achieved in the ICU and patient was directly sent to operating theater. Anterior-posterior approach was chosen to decompress and stabilize the cervical spine. The patient was discharged on postoperative day 17 and was seen well at 1-month follow-up. Conclusion: The capability to perform spine procedures should not be exclusive to tertiary hospitals in Indonesia. Satisfying results can be achieved with the presence of capable neurosurgeons or orthopedic surgeons and anesthesiologists in lower-level hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number375
JournalSurgical Neurology International
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Cervical
  • Emergency surgery
  • Referral
  • Secondary hospital
  • Spinal cord injury


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