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incomplete or complete

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    incomplete or complete

    What is the difference between complete and imcomplete?

    There are a couple of definitions of complete. One is an injury where the spinal cord is severed. This hardly ever happens. The other implies that testing has found no movement or sensation in the areas controlled by nerves found below the injury. (At C2, this includes breathing without a ventilator). As Kate said, it is too early for anyone to make this diagnosis on your friend. She will have swelling in her spinal cord for at least 6 months (this is called spinal shock); when this subsides, it will possible to label her injury. Keep posting these questions, girlfriend, I've got a feeling you're doing good work. Stay strong.

    C5/6 incomplete, injured Aug. 2000
    Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


      Tammy, I would recommend that your read some of the articles that Dr. Young has written and posted on the home page for this site. I would especially recommend the article about acute injuries and the one on types and classification of SCI. You will get a lot of information there that many health care professionals do not know, and be much better equipt to ask questions of your friend's physicians and other team members. You can find the page here:

      Care Cure homepage

      Incomplete means that the person can feel and/or move some below the level of injury. The degree of incompleteness varies widely, and as Bethany said, it is way too early to tell how complete your friend's injury is at this point.

      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.