Ann Rehabil Med.  2022 Oct;46(5):248-255. 10.5535/arm.22062.

Characteristics of Pediatric Spinal Cord Injury in South Korea: A Single-Centered Study

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, National Rehabilitation Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Catholic Kwandong University, International St. Mary's Hospital, Incheon, Korea


To determine the characteristics of pediatric spinal cord injury (SCI) in South Korea from 1990 to 2019.
This single-centered retrospective study included pediatric SCIs. Individuals were divided into the following five groups according to onset age: ≤5, 6–12, 13–14, 15–17, and 18–19 years. The severity of complete injury was graded according to the American Spinal Injury Association impairment scale A (AIS A). Incomplete injury was graded according to AIS B, C, and D. Pearson chi-square test was used for statistical analysis.
Of the 267 individuals included, 216 (80.9%) had traumatic SCIs (male-to-female ratio of 3.2:1), and 51 (19.1%) had non-traumatic SCIs (male-to-female ratio of 0.7:1). In the traumatic SCI group, 192 (88.9%) individuals were ≥15 years at the time of injury (males, 78.6%). The most common etiologies of traumatic SCIs, ranging from most to least common, were accidents related to motorcycles, falls, cars, and diving. In the non-traumatic SCI group, inflammatory (33.3%) and neoplastic (25.5%) etiologies were found to be the most common ones.
We found that traumatic SCIs incidence in the pediatric population was high, particularly in male individuals aged 15–19 years. The non-traumatic SCIs mostly cause paraplegia and incomplete injury. Therefore, it can be used as a basic data for the evaluation, treatment and prevention strategy of pediatric patients with SCI.


Spinal cord; Epidemiology; Spinal cord injuries; Pediatrics; Spinal cord diseases


  • Fig. 1 Etiology distribution of individuals with traumatic pediatric spinal cord injury stratified by age.

  • Fig. 2 Etiologic differences of traumatic pediatric spinal cord injury stratified by sex.

  • Fig. 3 Causes of spinal cord injury in individuals aged 15–19 years. TA, traffic accidents.


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