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C1 injury, not on a vent, can move/feel limbs

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    C1 injury, not on a vent, can move/feel limbs

    Just wanted some thoughts. A son of a friend of ours was injured last Friday playing La Crosse. He has a C1 break/injury. Good news is that he is not on a vent and has movement and feeling in all limbs. He does has significant pain. It is safe to say that he probably will recover near normal return in the future barring other unforeseen complications?

    The family is understandbly shaken and there is little medical communication. Unfortunately, many of our friends can only think about our friend who was injured 5 years ago in a diving accident and sustained a C5 complete injury and most are thinking the worst possible outcome. I've tried to reassure them that this injury, while tragic and filled with possible complications, is not the same as our previous friend and that he will probably be basically OK, abit with limitations.

    Obviously the doctors will provide the professional medical judgement that will hopefully be shared with everyone soon, but in the interim with the holiday, I'm trying to reassure some very concerned folks. I think my assessment is OK but thought I'd turn to the experts.


    It sounds like this person is extremely lucky and has only a spinal fracture without any spinal cord impairment. This is actually not a real unusual injury. I hope he is getting his care at a major trauma center. If not, he may need to get moved so that he has access to expert neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine specialists. Both would be good and often getting a second opinon from one vs. the other is helpful in these situations.

    Often these are just stabilized with a halo brace and no surgery, as it is very difficult to get to the the C1 vertebrae surgically without putting the person at risk for serious surgical complications. Other cervical orthoses do not hold C1 stable enough generally. Of course until this is done (or it is determined that the fracture is not unstable), it is critical that he be maintained on strict spinal precautions.

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


      Hi beachlover,

      Your original message is over a month old with no update. Is no news good news? I pray your friend's son continues his remarkable good fortune to not be paralyzed. I have a C1-2 injury (with a vent and paralysis from my neck down) and though life can still be good (different, but still good) it's certainly preferable to not be paralyzed (DUH!).

      God bless!

      Bill Miller
      Wheelchair users -- even high-level quads... WANNA BOWL?

      I'm a C1-2 with a legit 255 high bowling game.



        Hi Bill and others,
        Sorry for the delay in posting. There is good/bad news.

        The overwhelmingly good news is that there is no paralysis associated with his injury. Spinal cord is intact and everything there is fine at this point.

        The not so good news is that the C1 fracture has only healed on one side and as a result the non-healed side is compressing the nerves and causing significant pain. He also has ligament damage that has not healed so the doctors are worried about long term support for his head. As a result, this week they placed him in a halo to provide more support to hopefully see more healing on the weak side.

        The doctors have indicated that the best outcome right now is a C1/C2 fusion surgery. The worst outcome is a occipital bone/C1/C2 and ligament surgery. The more complex surgery is difficult and the outcome is hard to predict.

        Either surgery will result in limitations but the doctors are hoping to get him to a place where he is pain free -- which they say may not happen. Still, all things considered, everyone is thanking their higher power and counting blessings. His college scholarship is gone, and his freshman year will not happen, but..... the losses are insignificant compared to what could have been and everyone knows this and is thankful.



          smoking and alcohol can delay healing. He should also be using a bone stimulator to speed up the fusion.
          Good luck


            hope he is pain free. he already escaped a c1 injury. already lucky. but, the pain can be a bitch. hope it goes away.


              I am also a c1-c2 fusion.Broke neck in a truck crash back in Nov.2006 at age 57.Also TBI.Have a shunt to releive pressure.Tons of rehab and determination are what is needed to get through this
              Labrador retrievers are truly man's best friend!