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Complete or incomplete?

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    Complete or incomplete?

    Good afternoon everyone

    I hope this is the right place to ask my question, if not I apologize to the forum moderators.
    I came to ask a question that is perhaps a little controversial, but the doctors I was seen by can't decide. I have had this injury for a little over a year and a half and I constantly feel tingling and numbness. Sometimes, in physiotherapy, when my feet are being moved, for example, I feel something, but right after that the numbness increases and I stop feeling the movement. I've also felt a sting or two on my foot, but it's not consistent. My question is, as the title of the post indicates, do you think my injury is complete or incomplete?

    I apologize for my bad English, I'm a bit rusty.

    Greetings from Portugal

    Complete and incomplete are a bit of arbitrary terms that come from the AIS (ASIA or American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale) rating of the injury. This scoring system is used all over the world and endorsed by ISCoS which is the International Spinal Cord Society.

    There are 4 categories in the AIS: AIS A is considered a true complete, although it is likely that in many there are still functional nerves pass through the injury site even with an AIS A.

    Here are the current AIS definitions:
    • A: Complete. No sensory or motor function is preserved in the sacral segments S4-S5.
    • B: Sensory incomplete. Sensory but not motor function is preserved below the neurological level and includes the sacral segments S4-S5 (light touch, pin prick at S4-S5 or deep anal pressure), AND no motor function is preserved more than three levels below the motor level on either side of the body.
    • C: Motor incomplete. Motor function is preserved below the neurological level and more than half of key muscle functions below the single neurological level of injury (NLI) have a muscle grade less than 3.
    • D: Motor incomplete. Motor function is preserved below the neurological level and at least half of key muscle functions below the NLI have a muscle grade of 3 or greater.
    • E: Normal. If sensation and motor function as tested with the ISNCSCI are graded as normal in all segments, and the patient had prior deficits, then the AIS grade is E. Someone without an initial SCI does not receive an AIS grade.
    The usual expectation is that if an injury remains stable at 3 months that this is what will remain, but many people report some minor improvement up to two years or longer. Christopher Reeve regained some movement in one finger 10 years after injury. Don't give up hope...research is ongoing to find a cure, and you may want to check out our Cure forum for update information on this. Don't sit around waiting though; get on with your life and keep yourself in good shape with your PT and taking care of your skin, etc. so you can be a candidate for the right research study when it comes around.

    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.


      Thank you for the answer. I already knew the scale, my doubt is whether the tingling and numbness are seen or not as an incomplete lesion because if I feel it, it is because the brain interprets a signal from that area of the body and if the brain interprets it, it is because it passes a signal, it does not mean that that the injury is incomplete, or am I thinking wrong?

      As for the cure zone, I confess that I'm a little discouraged with that space on the forum, it's very still. Before it was much more active. It seems that there is general discouragement or else everything is waiting for the nergen ahahah.​


      • SCI-Nurse
        SCI-Nurse commented
        Editing a comment
        To officially be considered "incomplete" you have to have normal sensation at your anus.
        Have you attended any of Dr. Young's Keck Center Open House Zoom sessions? (KLD)