TABLE 2-1 Spinal Cord Levels and Areas of Control

Spinal Cord Section

Spinal Cord Levels

Areas of Controla

Likely Condition After Injury

Cervical

C1-C8

Head, neck, diaphragm, arms

Tetraplegic

Thoracic

T1-T12

Chest, abdominal muscles

Paraplegic

Lumbar

L1-L5

Hips, legs

Paraplegic

Sacral

S1-S5

Bowel, bladder, groin, calves, buttocks, legs

Paraplegic

aAn injury at a given level indicates that the portion of the spinal column beneath the site of injury will likely be affected.

SOURCES: El Masry et al., 1996; ASIA, 2000; Young, 2002.

TABLE 2-2 Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

Type of Spinal Cord Injury

Percentage of Total Injuries

Description

Contusion

25 to 40

Bruising, but not severing, of the spinal cord

Laceration

25

Severing or tearing of the spinal cord and introduction of connective tissue into the spinal cord, typically from gunshot or knife wounds

Solid cord injury

17

Axon injury and demyelination

 

SOURCES: Bunge et al., 1993, 1997; Harper et al., 1996; Hulsebosch, 2002.

caudal segment of the spinal cord with both normal sensory and motor functions.

The completeness of the injury gives a strong indication and prognosis of the severity of the injury, and it serves as the basis for the ASIA Impairment Scale (described below). A complete injury relies on the detection of any neurological function below the site of the injury (Levi, 2004), especially the loss of motor and sensory functions in the lowest sacral region of the spinal cord (S4 and S5), which supplies nerves to the anal and perineal regions. Few people with a complete spinal cord injury regain the useful function of this region (Levi, 2004). An incomplete injury, on the other



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