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Diagnosis and Treatment for Spinal Cord Injuries
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Spinal cord injuries directly affect the body’s central nervous system which is why they can have a debilitating effect on both mental and physical well-being of the sufferer. A physician can diagnose and recommend treatment for a spinal cord injury. Let’s learn how spinal cord injuries are diagnosed and treated.

Diagnosis

After a person suffers a spinal cord injury, they may be taken to an emergency room. The doctor will test for movement and sensory function and ask a few questions about how the accident occurred. If the person is not fully awake, complains of pain in the neck or has signs of neurological injury or weakness, emergency tests will be performed. These tests might include:
  • MRI

    In MRI, strong radio waves and magnetic field is used for producing computer-generated photos. This test help a doctor examine the spinal cord of the patient and identify blood clots, herniated disks or other critical masses.

  • X-Rays

    These tests are typically ordered on people who’re suspected of having some kind of spinal cord injury. X-rays may reveal problems in the spinal column, fractures, degenerative changes or tumors.

  • CT scan

    In order to get a better view of abnormalities, the doctor may order a CT scan. In this scan, computers are used to create a few cross-section images of the spinal cord that define disk, bone and other issues.
Treatment

Damage to a person’s spinal cord cannot be reversed. Researchers are actively working to find treatments that improve nerve function and promote regeneration of nerve cells. Treatment of spinal cord injuries mostly focuses on preventing further injuries and empowering suffers to return to their active life.

The patient is usually admitted at a hospital for early-stage treatment. They may eventually be transferred to a spinal cord injury center where neurosurgeons, medicine specialists, orthopedic surgeons, therapists and nurses will work in a team to provide treatment.

Medications

Medications were once mostly used for treating acute spinal cord injuries. However, research has found that side effects like pneumonia and blood clots outweigh their benefits. Due to this reason, medicines like methylprednisolone are no longer considered a viable treatment option for spinal cord injuries.

Surgery

Surgery is often required to remove small pieces of bones, herniated disks, fractured vertebrae and foreign objects that may compress the spine. It might also be performed for stabilizing the spine and prevent deformity or future pain.

Immobilization

Traction may be required for stabilizing the spine or bringing it into the right alignment. Sometimes, a neck collar might work.

After the condition of the patient stabilizes, the doctor may focus on preventing additional problems that can arise from the injury. These include muscle contractures, deconditioning, pressure ulcers, bladder and bowel issues and respiratory infections.

If you have suffered a spinal cord injury and looking for treatment, contact Dr. Taha at Advanced Neurosurgery.



 
 
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