Study finds explosions leave soldiers with spine injuries

September 26, 2012

Rosemont, IL – Explosions are the top cause of spine injuries among military personnel serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, concludes a study from the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

A team of orthopedic surgeons analyzed data on back and spinal injuries among American soldiers from October 2001 to December 2009. More than 5 percent of the 10,979 evacuated combat casualties sustained spinal injuries, the study abstract stated. Explosions caused 56 percent of those spine injuries, followed by motor vehicle collisions (29 percent) and gunshots (15 percent).

Most of the injuries – 92 percent – were fractures, and spinal injuries often occurred along with injuries to the abdomen, chest, head and face, according to a press release from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, which published the study.

Survival rates for such injuries are high, but disability rates also are high, the press release stated.

The study appeared online Sept. 18 in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.