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SCI Terms

Spinal Cord Injury Terminology

InjuryDescription
Cauda equina injury A term used to describe injuries that occur below the L1 level of the spine. This injury is considered to be a lower motor neuron injury.
Dermatome Designated sensory areas based on spinal segment innervation.
Myelotomy A surgical procedure that severs certain tracts within the spinal cord in order to decrease spasticity and improve function.
Myotome Designated motor areas based on spinal segment innervation.
Neurectomy A surgical removal of a segment of a nerve in order to decrease spasticity and improve function.
Neurogenic bladder The bladder empties reflexively for a patient with an injury above the level of S2. The sacral reflex arc remains intact.
Neurologic level The lowest segment (most caudal) of the spinal cord with intact strength and senasation. Muscle groups at this level must receive a grade of fair.
Nonreflexive bladder The bladder is flaccid as a result of a cauda equina or conus medullaris lesion. The sacral reflex arc is damaged.
Paraplegia A term used to describe injuries that occur at the level of the thoracic, lumbar or sacral spine.
Rhizotomy A surgical resection of the sensory component of a spinal nerve in order to decrease spasticity and improve function.
Sacral sparing An incomplete lesion where some of the innermost tracts remain innervated. Characteristics include sensation of the saddle area, movement of the toe flexors, and rectal sphincter contraction.
Spinal Shock A physiologic response that occurs between 30 and 60 minutes after trauma to the spinal cord and can last up to several weeks. Presents with total flaccid paralysis and loss of all reflexes below the level of injury.
Tenotomy A surgical release of a tendon in order to decrease spasticity and improve function.
Tetraplegia (quadriplegia) A term adopted by the American Spinal Cord Injury Association to describe injuries that occur at the level of the cervical spine.
Zone of preservation A term used to describe poor or trace motor or sensory function for up to three levels below the neurologic level of injury.
Created by: sueswes@aol.com