Traumatic spondylolisthesis is a known occurrence in trauma, but complete cord transection is relatively rare. Moreover, complete cord transection at a site distant from the traumatic spondylolisthesis without spondyloptosis is exceedingly rare. In this report, authors describe the first case of thoracic cord avulsion following a traumatic grade II lumbar spondylolisthesis. The unusual presentation of this case highlights the importance of further evaluating patients with neurological symptoms out of proportion with the injuries seen on initial imaging. Magnetic resonance imaging performed after initial imaging studies demonstrated T11 cord transection with the distal cord herniating into the lumbar paraspinal soft tissues, thus allowing for preoperative planning to prepare for a more significant intervention including complex dural repair and lumbar drain placement, in addition to instrumented fusion to stabilize the traumatic spondylolisthesis.
National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center: Spinal Cord Injury Facts and Figures at a Glance. Birmingham, AL: University of Alabama at Birmingham2017 (https://www.nscisc.uab.edu/public_pages/FactsFiguresArchives/SCI%20Facts%20and%20Figures%20at%20a%20Glance%202017.pdf) [Accessed June 1 2018]