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Spinal Cord Injuries


Every year, thousands of people face spinal cord injuries as a result of spinal trauma, spine fracture. The spinal cord, as we know, transmits signals received from the brain to the nerves. When there is an injury, the fibers that provide the movement we call motor, the sensory fibers that provide sensation or the sympathetic system that performs autonomic functions are damaged in the parts below the injury level. And the clinical picture arises depending on this. Spinal cord injuries are reported most frequently in the 16-30 age range and 80% in men. Automobile and motorcycle accidents, falls, sports injuries and gunshot injuries are among the causes. If a patient is suspected of having a spinal cord injury, a careful medical evaluation should be made immediately. Initial diagnosis is usually made by loss of movement below the injury level.


Symptoms in Spinal Cord Injuries


  • Pressure sensation and severe pain in the head, neck and lower back

  • Loss of sensation and tingling in the hand, fingers, foot or leg

  • Loss of movement control in any part of the body

  • Urinary or bowel incontinence

  • Difficulty walking, loss of balance

  • Pain, pressure, and abnormal sensation in a particular area of ​​the chest

  • Difficulty breathing


Diagnosis in Spinal Cord Injuries


First, a simple x-ray is taken. In most cases, pathologies related to the spine can be detected. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resoscence imaging (MRI) can be performed as advanced examinations. CT gives us very clear information in bone imaging.


Treatment of Spinal Cord Injuries


A patient with spinal cord injury should be transferred to the hospital as soon as possible. At the accident site, the patient should be immobilized carefully by paramedic and emergency personnel. If there is a life-threatening problem, immediate action is taken accordingly.


Surgical treatment


Compressing the spinal cord; If there is a herniated disc, blood or bone fragment, the patient is urgently operated. In such patients, progressive paralysis occurs. The purpose of the operation is to relieve the spinal cord and nerves from pressure. If there is permanent damage to the spinal cord, it is to prevent future pain and deformity.




Patients with spinal cord damage, especially tetraplegia, who develop paralysis in all their limbs, face the threat of other diseases.

These; pneumonia, gastric ulcer, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and wound infection.


Unfortunately, in patients with severe spinal cord injury, functional and neurological improvement is not observed below the injury site. Although there is no complete recovery in partial injuries, at least bladder control and ambulation are provided. The patient should definitely be rehabilitated. Family, nurse and specially trained helpers should undertake supportive care.


Death risk


The factor that increases the risk of death is the severity of the injuries associated with spinal cord injury. It is rare that a trauma that causes spinal cord injury does not damage the thorax or abdomen. These types of injuries can be fatal. Younger patients are more likely to have a prognosis than older patients.
Lung diseases are among the most common causes of death (70%). The second and third leading causes of death are heart diseases and infections.

Dr. Tamer Tekin

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Herniated disc

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Spinal Canal Narrowing

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