Spinal Cord Syndromes
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- Anterior cord syndrome:
- Results from flexion or axial loading mechanism or direct cord compression from vertebral fractures, dislocations, disc herniation, tumor, or abscess
- Rarely, can be caused by laceration or thrombosis to the anterior spinal artery
- Brown-Séquard syndrome:
- Hemisection of the spinal cord, classically as a result of a penetrating wound
- Rarely unilateral cord compression
- Central cord syndrome:
- Most commonly occurs in elderly patients who have pre-existing cervical spondylosis and stenosis
- Forced hyperextension causes buckling of the ligamentum flavum, creating a shearing injury to the central portion of the spinal cord.
- Dorsal cord syndrome:
- Associated with hyperextension injuries
- Complete cord syndrome:
- Blunt or penetrating trauma that results in complete disruption of spinal cord
- Symptoms that remain >24 hr generally are permanent.
- Spinal cord syndromes result from localized disruption of neurotransmission and exhibit mixed motor and sensory deficits. The most common mechanism is trauma.
- Patients with arthritis, osteoporosis, metastatic disease, or other chronic spinal disorders are at risk of developing spinal injuries as the result of minor trauma.