What are the Differences Between Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury?

A spinal cord injury could have life-changing effects on a person that can result from various types of incidents, with car accidents and crashes being one of the leading causes. It’s essential to comprehend the differences between complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries, as they have distinct characteristics and implications for individuals affected in a crash.

What is a spinal cord injury?

Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves tied together by the vertebral disks that make up your spine. A traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is when there is damage to the spinal cord due to one, more, or all the vertebrae being fractured or dislocated.

Car accidents are a common catalyst for SCIs. The forceful impact experienced during these accidents causes severe damage to the delicate structures of the spinal cord, leading to life-altering consequences for the individuals involved in a crash and sustaining these types of injuries. SCI severity determines the extent of functional limitations, ranging from partial to total inabilities in affected areas.

What are the Differences Between Complete and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury?

How are complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries different from each other?

A complete spinal cord injury is the complete loss of motor and sensory function below the level of the injury, resulting in complete paralysis and the absence of sensation. While an incomplete spinal cord injury is the spinal cord’s partial damage, allowing for some degree of motor and sensory function to remain below the injury level.

When comparing complete vs incomplete spinal cord injury, the primary contrast lies in their distinct impact on sensory and motor functions.

Now, let's take a closer look at the differences:

Complete Spinal Cord Injury Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury
Definition Occurs when there is a total loss of motor and sensory function below the injury level. Refers to partial damage to the spinal cord, allowing some degree of motor and sensory function to remain below the injury level.
Effects  Results in complete paralysis and loss of sensation below the injury level. Leads to varying degrees of paralysis and sensory impairment depending on the extent and location of the injury.
Sensory function Typically, little to no sensation is preserved below the injury level. The sensation may be partially preserved, allowing for some feeling or perception of touch, temperature, or pressure below the injury level.
Motor function Complete loss of voluntary movement and muscle control below the injury level. Retains some voluntary muscle control, enabling limited movement below the injury level. The extent of motor function varies depending on the specific injury.
Prognosis Generally associated with a lower chance of functional recovery and a higher likelihood of long-term disability. Offers a higher possibility of functional recovery and the potential for regaining some sensory/motor function. However, the degree of recovery varies widely between individuals.

Seeking justice for your accident-related injuries? Whalen Injury Lawyers is here to help. Our compassionate team of legal professionals is dedicated to helping you navigate the legal process and obtain the maximum compensation reasonably possible for injuries relating to a car crash or semi-truck accident. Contact Whalen Injury Lawyers to get the right legal guidance following a severe injury caused by an accident and the justice you deserve.

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