Spine Injuries

motor control and even fewer recover the ability to ambulate. CT myelography or MRI usually demonstrate anterior canal compromise and cord compression.

The conus medullaris and cauda equina syndromes are usually associated with thoracolumbar spinal cord injuries. These injuries present with a combination of upper and lower motor neuron involvement, since there is injury to the cord as well as the nerve root. Patients with the conus syndrome usually have injuries in the T11-L1 region, whereas in patients with the cauda equina syndrome, the injury is from L1 down through the sacral levels. Patients with conus injuries have the same prognosis as patients with spinal cord injuries, depending on whether the injury is complete or incomplete, with incomplete lesions doing better. In patients with cauda equina, the prognosis is as favorable as those of patients having peripheral nerve injuries. Adequate decompression increases the chances for functional recovery of motor function to an ambulatory status, although chronic intractable pain might be an undesirable outcome for some of these patients.

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