Procedure for Spinal Cord Injury - Stem Cell Treatment

General Surgery

Spinal Cord Injury Statistics

As per WHO, These are some remarkable facts and statistics about Spinal Cord Injury:

  • Annually approximately 250000 to 500000 people suffer from a spinal cord injury (SCI) across the globe
  • The spinal cord injuries causes are preventable which are: road traffic accidents, falls or violence
  • SCI patients have a worst survival rates in low and middle income countries
  • Approximately 2 - 5 times premature deaths that occur because of SCIs

Types of Spinal Cord Injury

All spinal cord injuries can be broadly divided into two major types:

  • Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury:

    In this type the spinal cord is only partially injured/affected. In this type the injured person can still retain some body functions. The degree of the body functions depends on the severity and extent of the injuries.
  • Complete Spinal Cord Injuries:

    In comparison with the incomplete injury to spinal cord, in this type the spinal cord is fully damaged. This eliminates major body functions. With timely treatment, physical therapy, etc., some functions can be regained.

Some other common categories of incomplete or partial spinal cord injuries are:

Anterior Cord Syndrome:

The frontal part of the spinal cord is damaged in this type. The injury damages the motor and sensory pathways of the spinal cord. Some sensation can be retained, however the movement is affected.

  • Central Cord Syndrome: In this injury, the spinal cord’s center is damaged; this affects the nerves carrying signals from the brain to the spinal cord. This damage usually results in the deprivation of fine motor skills, arm paralysis, partial deterioration in the lower extremities. Other common symptoms also include the loss of bowel/bladder control, loss/decreased of sexual function
  • Brown-Sequard Syndrome: In this type, the damage is caused to one side of the spinal cord. The injury might be more noticeable unilaterally (one side of the body). The degree of severity seen in Brown-Sequard patients differs from patient to patient.

Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms

The Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms can be classified as follows:

Generalized symptoms
  • Sweating
  • Feeling faint
  • Leaking of stool
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bedsores
  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Headaches
  • Loss of libido or sexual function
  • Loss of fertility
  • Pneumonia (this happens when more than half of cervical spinal cord is injured)
Muscular symptoms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscles stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Chronic muscle pain
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Coordination problems
Sensory symptoms
  • Decreased sensation of touch
  • Abnormal and painful sensation
  • Varying degrees of paralysis (tetraplegia/quadriplegia/ paraplegia)
  • Chronic pain
  • Nerve pain
Urinary symptoms
  • Urinary incontinence (leaking of urine)
  • Urinary retention

Treatment for Spinal Cord Injury

The treatment options available in the spinal cord injury are as follows:


Some of the medicines used in the spinal cord injury are:

  1. Muscle Relaxants: These medicines reduce the muscle stiffness/tension/rigidity to give relief from muscle pain and muscular discomfort.
  2. Blood Pressure Drugs: These medicines are given when the blood pressure is too low.
  3. Steroids: These medicines are given for reducing the swelling or for growth and repair of the damaged tissues. Steroids also stimulate hormones.

Medical Procedures:

Some medical procedures are also undertaken, they are as follows:

  1. Urinary catheterization: This is usually done when a patient suffers from Urinary incontinence (leaking of urine)
  2. Traction: In this procedure, weights and pulleys are used to put back the broken bones/damaged joints in place or stabilize them.

Spinal Cord Surgery: There are different surgical options in the spinal cord injury. The objective of the spinal cord surgery is to correct the defect caused by trauma to the spinal cord and its surrounding structures like bones, tissues, etc.

Supportive Care:

Some supportive care is also necessary in this condition. This care includes:

  1. Hydrotherapy:
    Water is used in the form of mineral baths or hot tubs to relieve pain or to control the symptoms.

  2. Resuscitation:
    Mouth to mouth or assisted breathing by machine is required in some cases, when the patient is unable to breathe.

  3. Stem Cell Therapy:
    Stem cells transplantation can repair the spinal cord damage/injury by replacing the dead nerve cells.

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