Management of Spinal Trauma

Spinal cord trauma is any form of damage to the spinal cord and/or the vertebrae. If there is an unstable segment in the vertebral column it will require a fusion. Damage to the spinal cord cannot be reversed by performing surgery but a so-called secondary insult to the spinal cord can be reversed by removing bone or disc fragments compressing the spinal cord.

Cervical spinal trauma

Cervical spinal injuries occur in the neck region and can result in paralysis of the upper limbs and the lower limbs if the spinal cord is damaged. Cervical fusion surgery will be considered as a treatment option in individuals suffering from cervical trauma who have attempted alternate, non-surgical options first. Cervical fusion surgery can be approached from the anterior (front) or from the posterior (back). Your surgeon will decide what best suits your individual situation.

Thoracic spinal trauma

Thoracic injuries are at the level of the chest and can result in paralysis of the lower limbs if the spinal cord is damaged. Thoracic fusion are performed from behind (posterior) by placing pedicle screws in the vertebrae to stabilise unstable segments.

Lumbar spinal trauma

Lumbar trauma is located in the lower back. This can result in complete paralysis of the lower limbs or partial paralysis of individual muscles in the lower limbs. The prognosis are generally much better compared to the cervical and thoracic area.


Dr MJD Jacobsohn qualified in 2007 at the University of Cape Town. He then completed an AO spinal fellowship at the Spinal Unit of Groote Schuur Hospital. He started full time private practice at Mediclinic Vergelegen in 2009 when he joined the established practice of Dr LS Wessels as his associate. A comprehensive range of cranial and spinal neurosurgical pathology are managed by Dr Jacobsohn.


physical address Block 2, Room 9, Mediclinic Vergelegen, Main Road, Somerset West, 7130

telephone number Tel: +27 (0)21 840 7002