Yannick Rau, Arndt-Peter Schulz, Roland Thietje, Ludwig Matrisch, Jasper Frese, Sven Hirschfeld

November 2022, pp 1 - 7 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07451-0

First Online: 13 November 2022


The goal of this study was to provide recent data on incidence of spinal cord injuries (SCI) in Germany.


The source of information was data collected via the mandatory submission of ICD-10 GM Codes by German public hospitals after patient discharge. Data from 2013 to 2020 were retrieved from the databases of the Federal Bureau of Statistics. ICD-10 Codes for acute SCI were identified. Statistical analysis was performed using Jamovi and Excel.


A total of 10,360 patients were reported, of whom 58.7% suffered from a cervical, 30.8% a thoracic and 10.4% a lumbar lesion. Two peaks in incidence were observed at approximately 30 and 70 years old. A population-size-adjusted overall incidence of 15.73 (SD 0.77) per million per year was calculated. We calculated the incidences in several subpopulations and discovered significantly higher incidences among males and among those over the age of 60. We discovered that differences in age groups mainly concerned injuries of the upper spine, with the incidence in the lumbar spine being similar among age groups. In addition, we found that while the probability of suffering from SCI increases with age, the relative risk of suffering from a complete injury decreases.


This study closes a long-lasting gap in epidemiological data regarding SCI in Germany, specifically by updating the incidence rates. We found that incidence depends on age, gender and type of lesion. We also provide some new angles for future research, especially considering the relative reduction in complete injuries among the elderly.

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