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Spinal Strokes--Question for Dr Young

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  • Spinal Strokes--Question for Dr Young

    In a previous post you said that spinal strokes are fairly common. Do you know somewhere where I could find some information on this subject? About 16 months ago I suffered anterior spinal artery syndrome duning a spinal fusion which left me with no movement and almost complete senstaion. The doctor says that the syndrome is a kind of a stroke. Is this common. I was 19 at the time and otherwise healthy, well except for the extreme scoliosis, kyphosis, and stenosis. Would there have been a way of know this would have happened prior to the surgery?


  • #2
    Becky, the scoliosis and kyphosis predisposes you to ischemia of the spinal cord. This is because the spinal cord is often tethered and surgery often will lead to stretching and compression of the cord.

    I will try to find some hard figures on the prevalence of such complications of surgery. I use to work closely with an orthopedic surgeon at Stanford University, by the name of Eugene Bleck, who did a lot of scoliosis surgery, where I became aware of this problem in the 1970's. At NYU Medical Center, we use to do spinal cord monitoring during scoliosis surgery to give surgeons advanced warning of an impending problem so that the surgeons could stop the procedure when the spinal cord became ischemic.

    Can you describe the level of your injury and what neurological deficits you have? If you are uncomfortable with doing so, I would be glad to communicate with you by email but I suspect that there are others who have a similar problem here.

    In particular, it would be important to know what part of your spinal cord is affected by the stroke.



    • #3
      Thanks Dr. Young

      Thanks for the info thus far. Very interesting. I am told that I am a T9-10 incomplete. As far as movement, the only things I am able to do are slight hip hikes and contract and relax my lower abs. Sensation/feeling is another story. From the knee up everything is pretty much normal as far as I can tell. Below the knee I can not feel hot/cold. My right foot is almost always kinda numb(meaning the feeling is much different. As far as bladder and bowels, I am like any other SCI except for being able to tell when I have to go. I cath because the only time I can void on my own is if I am really full. I am on a bowel program, but don't use suppositories or digital stimulation. My body pretty much sticks to the schedule with the help of peri colace and metamucil. I think that about covers it, if not let me know. I really appreciate any info you can find for me. Thanks