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Dr. Young - spinal cord lesion

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  • Dr. Young - spinal cord lesion

    Do you have any data concerning the average length of spinal cord lesions?

    Anybody else out there know how big theirs is? I'm trying to get an idea of just how bad mine is at 2.5cms.



    I presume that you are talking about the length of your lesion on MRI. Perhaps the following may help. What remains is more important than what is lost. I have seen people who has such a thin spinal cord at the injury site that no more than 10% of the spinal tract could be intact and yet they are walking. I have also seen people who have a syringomyelic cyst that extends 10 or more segments of the spinal cord but still have substantial function. In short, the length of the lesion is not as important as the width of the lesion and the width of the lesion does not really rule out the presence of function until it approaches 90% of the cross-sectional area of the spinal cord at a given level.

    Finally, we should be careful concerning what MRI shows. Standard magnetic resonance images do not have resolution to detect axons. The presence of tissue at the injury site does not mean that axons are passing through that tissue. Especially early after injury, the MRI may show substantial tissue at the injury site but they may have little function below the injury site. MRI shows tissue and the condition of that tissue but the presence of tissue does not necessary equal axons.