Acute Spinal Cord Injury

Pelvis | Urology | Acute Spinal Cord Injury (Disease)


A spinal cord injury (SCI) refers to any injury to the spinal cord that is caused by trauma instead of disease. Acute spinal cord injury occurs after a traumatic injury that can results in a bruise, also called a contusion, a partial tear, or a complete tear, called a transection in the spinal cord. SCI is a common cause of permanent disability and death in children and adults.

The symptoms of spinal cord injury depend on where the spinal cord is injured and whether or not the injury is complete or incomplete. In incomplete injuries, patients have some remaining function of their bodies below the level of injury, while in complete injuries they have no function below the level of injury.

Causes and Risk factors

There are many causes of SCI. The more common injuries occur when the area of the spine or neck is bent or compressed, as in the following: birth injuries, which typically affect the spinal cord in the neck area; falls; motor vehicle accidents (automobiles, motorcycles, and being struck as a pedestrian); sports injuries; driving accidents; violence (gun shot or stab wounds); infections that form an abscess on the spinal cord. SCIs can also be of a non-traumatic origin, as in the case of cancer, infection, intervertebral disc disease, vertebral injury and spinal cord vascular disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnostic tests may include: blood tests, X-ray, Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Specific treatment for an acute spinal cord injury will be determined by physician based on: age, overall health, and medical history; extent of the SCI; type of SCI, tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies. ...

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