Spinal imaging and immobilisation may be unnecessary in many GSW patients

A retrospective review of 4204 patients sustaining gunshot wounds (GSW) to the head, neck or torso examined the incidence of spinal cord injury and bony spinal column injury required operative spinal intervention. None of the patients demonstrated spinal instability requiring operative intervention, and only 2/327 (0.6%) required any form of operative intervention for decompression. The authors concluded that spinal instability following GSW with spine injury is very rare, and that routine spinal imaging and immobilisation is unwarranted in examinable patients without symptoms consistent with spinal injury following GSW to the head, neck or torso.
The role of routine spinal imaging and immobilisation in asymptomatic patients after gunshot wounds
Injury. 2009 Aug;40(8):860-3

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