Complete or Incomplete Injury While the level of injury tells us where the damage is, the type of injury describes the degree of damage to the width of the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries are therefore categorized as complete or incomplete in conjunction with the level of injury. Complete injury indicates that there is
Spinal cord injuries are categorized as complete or incomplete along with the level of injury.
severe damage to the spinal cord and consequently there is no motor or sensory function below the level of injury. An incomplete or partial injury indicates that there is some evidence of motor and sensory function. The brain is able to send and receive some messages. The incomplete or partial injury manifests itself in a variety of ways. Someone who has an incomplete SCI may have feeling, but little or no movement. Another person may have feeling and movement on one side of their body, but not on the other.
Spinal cord injuries are not always easily detectable. First responders to crashes are trained to treat trauma victims and survivors with head and neck injuries as if they have a spinal cord injury. Therefore, the first intervention is to immobilize the spine in order to prevent injury or to deter further damage. Consequences of SCI
Often the first medical
intervention in an emergency is to immobilize the spine to prevent further damage.
Many victims and survivors require surgery in the first several days following the initial injury. Surgery helps to decompress the spinal cord and stabilize the vertebral column. The level of injury indicates the specific interventions or treatments that follow. Cervical Spinal Cord Injury In the event of a cervical SCI, treatment includes measures to decompress the spinal cord and stabilize the spine. First, two metal braces are attached to the skull with a pin on each side. Next, weights are connected to the braces with a pulley system: the weight is gradually increased to decompress and realign the cervical spine. This procedure is called traction. Long-term stability of the spine requires surgery or bracing because of the
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