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Thread: What do my injuries mean?

  1. #1

    Question What do my injuries mean?

    I just found all my medical paperwork...

    C5 unstable burst fracture with bilateral C6-7 and right C5-6 facet disruption, and horizontal lamina fracture of C6.
    C5 complete tetraplegia with Asia grade a, neurological level C5, and motor score 18.
    Multiple other injuries including left femur fracture in left lower extremity ischemia, treated with reduction in intramedullary nailing of the left femur.

    Application of Gardner Wells and 10 pounds of traction.

    Initial examination showed a complete tetraplegia at the C5 level with motor strength 5/5 in L. bull flexion in 4/5 in wrist extension in sensation limited to the C6 dermatomes. The patient has no disk ernible sickle sensation or movement below the C6 level. Movement caudal to the C6 level.

    Imaging studies show a C6 unstable type of burst fracture with bilateral C6 lateral mass fracture, facet disruption at the C6-7 level bilaterally, and a horizontal C6 lamina fracture. In addition, the left C5-6 facet joint showed liganentous injury and subluxation

    the initial CT scan showed the spinal canal and to be relatively well maintained in the space available for the cord.

    I realize the reports change but I'm reading them directly off the page and that is what the doctors wrote. If anyone could please explain this to me that would be great.



    I don't know what level I'm actually classified as. And I don't know if I'm a complete or incomplete. If you'd like to know more about my sensation or what I can actually move please feel free to ask.

    Thank you for your time I appreciate it.

  2. #2
    The words mean that you have a complete spinal cord injury at the level of the fifths cervical nerve. That means that you can bend your arms more easily than you can straighten them out. For the future it means that you should be able to feed yourself with some minor setup, drive a power wheel chair, maybe even a manual wheelchair, eventually drive a car with adaptive controls, wash your face, comb your hair, shave (if your a man), brush your teeth and put on some t-shirts independently. You'll need some help with buttons and pants, transfering in and out of bed and you will probably need help with bowel and bladder issues. If you were injured recently, we need to wait at least a year before we will know what your level will finally be, since you will recover some function over the course of this next year. Have you gone to rehabilitation yet? If not, I recommend the University of Washington or Harborview as being the best places to deal with your needs.

    I hope I haven't blown you away with details here. Keep posting and we will do our best (all of us) to get used to this new life you're in.

    RAB

  3. #3
    I was injured at the end of March this year. I was at Harborview for one month and University of Washington for two months. I did my rehab at University of Washington. I'm 21 years old and a male. I've been working on getting into a manual chair but I can't find a trial one that fits me just yet.

    I have touch sensation down to my belly button on my right side of my chest. And I think it's the same on my back. I have some triceps in my left arm and not so much in my right arm. I can move my right thumb a little bit but not much. Not enough for me to actually do anything with it yet. I have deep touch sensation above my right knee cap. I also have wrist extension in both wrists.

    Some paperwork says C5 others say C6 and I've even seen C7. That's why I'm so confused on what level I actually am. Am I classified at where I broke my neck or what kind of movement?
    Sorry for all the questions. Thank you

  4. #4

  5. #5
    I am surprised that you did not get answers to your question at Harborview. You unfortunately did not mention whether you have sensation in your anal region or voluntary contraction of your anal sphincter. If you have either, this would take you out of the category of "complete" or ASIA A. It sounds as if you are getting quite a bit of function back. If your original injury is at C6, this would mean that you did not have triceps but your wrist extensors would be strong. Many people, even with the diagnosis of "complete" spinal cord injury go on to recover 1-2 segmental levels below their original injury level. It seems that you have done that and more. The classification system was originally designed to be applied during the first 48-72 hours after injury to ascertain the likelihood of recovery. In my opinion, people should not be paying attention to their "classification". Some people ASIA A (about 17% in my experience) recover substantial function after spinal cord injury. About 80% of people with "incomplete" spinal cord injury should recovery substantial motor function.

    Wise.

    Quote Originally Posted by WaDDie55
    I was injured at the end of March this year. I was at Harborview for one month and University of Washington for two months. I did my rehab at University of Washington. I'm 21 years old and a male. I've been working on getting into a manual chair but I can't find a trial one that fits me just yet.

    I have touch sensation down to my belly button on my right side of my chest. And I think it's the same on my back. I have some triceps in my left arm and not so much in my right arm. I can move my right thumb a little bit but not much. Not enough for me to actually do anything with it yet. I have deep touch sensation above my right knee cap. I also have wrist extension in both wrists.

    Some paperwork says C5 others say C6 and I've even seen C7. That's why I'm so confused on what level I actually am. Am I classified at where I broke my neck or what kind of movement?
    Sorry for all the questions. Thank you

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Copper Canyon, Texas
    Posts
    376
    Sounds like you are early in your injury with steady return. Try the exercise forum for ideas to help strengthen what you have and improve potential return. Are you currently in outpatient rehab?
    The equipment forum can help you with wheelchair ideas.

  7. #7
    Waddie55,
    I totally agree with Dr. Young.
    Don't pay attention to your classification! Dan is 3years post, and still improving! YOu probably have much more to gain.
    Just work hard and pray.
    Good Luck,
    Cathy J

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Green Ridge, MO, USA
    Posts
    34

    You have youth and time on your side.

    Hi there. My son, Lucas, is also 21. Funny thing. He was born at Overlake, in Bellevue on 8/26/84. Anyway, he's C5 C6 incomplete. He has sensation all over his body. He has tiny movements in his legs and the toes of his right foot. His quads are getting stronger, and his butt has voluntary contractions. No hands yet except his right forefinger. His spinal cord was compressed when C5 blew into spinal cord, but no puncture, tear or invasion. At 11 mos. post injury, his neurosurgeon said that Lucas had far exceeded any hopes he had for his recovery. My advice is to use the muscles you can, as much as you can. Keep visualizing movement in the other ones. Lucas does that all the time. That's how he got his toes and finger to move and his quads to kick in. We do standing frame and he has long leg braces for walking in the parallel bars. Keep informed about stem cell therapy too. I hear UW is working on stem cell research. Look at the Christopher Reeves Paralysis Foundation for information about what stem cells do. Meanwhile, keep your wits about you. Don't give up. Check out Mike Utley's home page. He was a Detroit Lions football player (SCI). He lives in Wenatchee. He's been a good cheerleader for Lucas.

  9. #9
    Hi LukesMom...
    Was your son injured while playing football? What is Mike Utley's current status? I read he lives independently- is he ambulatory? How did you son deal right after the accident? Friends of ours, son who is 20, was just injured 2 weeks ago. C 3-4 incomplete.

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