Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Genetic Testing
Pioneer in Embryo Genetic Testing and Gender Selection
- About Spinal Cord Injuries -
What are Spinal Cord Injuries?
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function, such as mobility or feeling. Frequent causes of damage include trauma (car accident, gunshot, falls, etc.) or disease (polio, spina bifida, Friedreich's Ataxia, etc.). The spinal cord does not have to be severed in order for the loss of functioning to occur. In fact, in most people with SCI the spinal cord is intact, but the damage to it results in loss of functioning.
What are the effects of spinal cord injuries?
The effects of a spinal cord injury depend on both the level of injury (i.e. where the injury to the spine occurred) and the type of injury (Complete or Incomplete).
· Tetraplegia (quadriplegia) refers to injuries to the cervical spinal cord (the neck), and results in paralysis of all four limbs.
· Paraplegia refers to injuries below the cervical spine, and results in paralysis of the legs and portions of the trunk.
· A complete injury means that there is no function below the level of the injury; no sensation and no voluntary movement. Both sides of the body are equally affected.
· An incomplete injury means that there is some functioning below the primary level of the injury. A person with an incomplete injury may be able to move one limb more than another, may be able to feel parts of the body that cannot be moved, or may have more functioning on one side of the body than the other. With the advances in treatment of SCI, icomplete injuries are becoming more common.
· In general, the higher in the spinal column the injury occurs, the more dysfunction a person will experience. The site of damage on the spine determines which area of the body is affected:
Source: SCI Information Network
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