Global Epidemiology of Pediatric Traumatic Spine Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Joseline Haizel-Cobbina, Rut Thakkar, Megan Still, Nathan A. Shlobin, Justine Izah, Liping Du, M. Shahzad Shamim, Christopher M. Bonfield, Ricardo Gepp, Michael C. Dewan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: Traumatic spine injury (TSI) leads to significant morbidity and mortality in children. However, the global epidemiology of pediatric TSI is currently unknown. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the global incidence of pediatric TSI and the burden of cases. Methods: PubMed, Embase, and Scopus were searched for reports in June 2021 and updated in March 2023 with no restrictions on language or year of publication. A meta-analysis was conducted to estimate the global incidence of pediatric TSI and, subsequently, the number of cases of pediatric TSI worldwide and the proportion requiring spine surgery. Results: Of 6557 studies, 25 met the inclusion criteria. Road traffic accidents (64%) were responsible for most cases reported in the literature, followed by falls (18%). The global incidence of TSI in children aged ≤20 years was estimated to be 14.24 of 100,000 children, or 375,734 children, with an estimated 114,975 requiring spine surgery. Across the World Bank income classification groups, lower middle-income countries had the highest pediatric TSI case burden (186,886 cases, with 57,187 requiring spine surgery). Across the World Health Organization regions, countries in the Southeast Asia region had the largest number of projected cases at 88,566, with 27,101 requiring surgical management, followed closely by the African region, with 87,235 projected cases and 26,694 requiring surgical management. Conclusions: Pediatric TSI represents a large healthcare burden globally. Interventions targeting both injury prevention and strengthening of neurosurgical capacity, especially in low resource settings, are needed to address this global health challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-180.e3
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • Global
  • Incidence
  • Pediatric
  • Surgical management
  • Traumatic spine injury


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