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Thread: Complete vs Incomplete

  1. #1
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    Complete vs Incomplete

    How do people know whether they have a complete or incomplete SCI?

    Thanks, MAC

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by forestranger52
    How do people know whether they have a complete or incomplete SCI?

    Thanks, MAC
    MAC, the definition for "complete" spinal cord injury is the presence of some level below which the person has no conscious sensory or voluntary motor control. Since the lowest spinal cord level is S4/5 which is represented by the anal sphincter and peri-anal sensation, this has become the criterion for complete or incomplete. A person that has preservation of anal sensation or voluntary sphincter contraction is "incomplete" while a person that does not is "complete".

    While the above is a logically consistent definition, it is helpful to look at some examples. A person who has a C2 injury with partial perservation of motor and sensory function to C6 but no anal sensation or sphincter function have a complete injury. However, a person that gets back anal sensation or voluntary anal contraction (as Christopher Reeve did) would be "incomplete".

    This definition does put the concepts of "incomplete" and "complete" spinal cord injury into a very different perspective. Most people with spinal cord injury have had some descent of injury level over a year or more after injury. This does not mean that the are "incomplete". Please who are admitted to hospital with "incomplete" injury, i.e. preservation of either anal feeling or sphincter contraction, are very like (>90%) to walk again.

    By the way, this does not mean that people who are "complete" never walk. Some may develop partial locomotion, depending on the level and severity of their injuries. A few recover substantially. It also does not mean that all people who are "incomplete" will recover walking.

    Wise.

  3. #3
    I would also recommend that you read Dr. Young's excellent article about levels and classification of spinal cord injury on this site. You can find it here:

    http://sci.rutgers.edu/index.php?pag...nalLevels.html

    (KLD)

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young
    People who are admitted to hospital with "incomplete" injury, i.e. preservation of either anal feeling or sphincter contraction, are very like (>90%) to walk again.

    By the way, this does not mean that people who are "complete" never walk. Some may develop partial locomotion, depending on the level and severity of their injuries. A few recover substantially. It also does not mean that all people who are "incomplete" will recover walking.
    wise,

    i'm not asking for a yes or no on if i'm going to regain function...but i'm curious...

    i've had a pressure sore (1st one lasted 4 months, still have the 2nd that started when the 1st was finishing closing up) since 2 weeks after my injury. i've been told my body has been directing most of it's energy towards healing my pressure sores and not my spinal cord. 2 months ago my pressure sore started to close up a lot...and then my injury changed from complete to incomplete. do i have the same, if not close to, chance as regaining function as someone who was incomplete from the start? i figure once my sore has healed up...i'll have a good chance for regaining something.

    oh yeah, i was a c6 complete, now incomplete. injured january 14th, 2006.

    sorry for the thread jack...
    -C6 incomplete
    -injured January, 14th 2006 in roll-over

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