A Cervical Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is a potentially fatal emergency that can result in paralysis and loss of sensation throughout the body. A cervical spinal cord injury can adversely affect major body functions like breathing and movement from your neck down, depending on the level and severity of the injury.
Whether you’re a patient seeking information or a caregiver looking for resources, our aim is to empower you with the knowledge to better comprehend and navigate this complex medical condition.
Anatomy of the Cervical Spinal Cord
The cervical spinal cord is the uppermost area of the spinal cord that runs along your neck. The cervical region is less stable and more vulnerable to injury because it bears less weight and has a wider range of motion than the lower parts of the spine. As a result, cervical-level injuries account for nearly 60% of all spinal cord injuries.
The cervical portion of the spinal cord consists of eight levels that communicate with various parts of the body. Each level of the cervical spinal cord, in particular, sends and receives signals pertaining to mobility and sensation in the neck, arms, and hands.
What is Cervical Spinal Cord Injury?
The cervical spine, as mentioned above, contains the top portion of the spinal cord and seven vertebrae (C-1 to C-7) in the neck.
C7 spinal cord injury is the most severe type of spinal cord injury as they are closer to the brain and affect a greater portion of the body. A cervical injury will result in tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, which means there is limited or no feeling or movement below the shoulders/neck.
Symptoms of Cervical Spinal Cord Injury
The following are the most common symptoms of cervical spinal cord injuries:
- Muscle fatigue
- Voluntary muscle movement loss in the chest, arms, or legs
- Breathing difficulties
- Feeling loss in the chest, arms, or legs
- Bowel and bladder dysfunction
- SCI symptoms can also mimic those of other medical conditions or problems.
However, c1 c2 spinal cord compression symptoms are known to be the most severe of all spinal cord injuries because they can result in complete paralysis but are often fatal. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may be classified as complete or incomplete.
SCI is diagnosed through a physical exam and diagnostic tests. Our doctor will want to know about your medical history and how the injury occurred during the exam.
Among the diagnostic tests available are:
X-ray – This test produces images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film with the help of invisible electromagnetic energy beams.
- Computed tomography scan (CT or CAT scan) – An imaging test that utilises X-rays and computer technology to create detailed images of the body (often referred to as slices). A CT scan produces images of the entire body, i.e., the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans render more information than basic X-rays.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)- Using large magnets, radio frequencies, and a computer, this test creates detailed pictures of internal organs and structures of the body.
Your treatment may include the following:
- Corticosteroids (to help reduce swelling in the spinal cord) and other medications
Surgery may be required to evaluate the injured spinal cord, stabilize fractured backbones, relieve pressure from the injured area, and manage any other injuries sustained as a result of the accident.
Your treatment may include the following:
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF): For treating cervical spinal cord injury, this type of surgery entails removing damaged discs or bone fragments from the cervical spine and fusing adjacent vertebrae to stabilize the area.
- Posterior Cervical Laminectomy and Fusion: This surgery involves removing part of the vertebral bone (laminectomy) to decompress the spinal cord. Subsequently, fusion may be performed to maintain stability.
- Artificial Disc Replacement: In this procedure, a damaged intervertebral disc is replaced with an artificial one, preserving motion in the cervical spine.
- Spinal Cord Decompression: Surgery can help relieve pressure on the spinal cord caused by bone fragments, herniated discs, or other obstructions.
- Cervical Spinal Fusion: Fusion procedures aim to stabilize the spine by joining adjacent vertebrae together, limiting motion in the affected area.
Our surgeon will work closely with the medical team to determine the most ideal approach to optimize recovery and improve the patient’s quality of life.
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Dr Sherief Elsayed for Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries and Issues
If you are dealing with cervical spinal cord issues, it is important to seek medical attention from a trusted and experienced professional like Dr Sherief Elsayed. He can help relieve your pain and improve your quality of life with his expertise and specialized treatments.
Don’t let cervical spinal cord issues hold you back any longer; contact Dr Sherief today and take the first step towards living a pain-free life again.