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Spinal Cord Injury - Diagnosis

Signs & Symptoms

The main clinical signs of a spinal cord compression are paralysis (constant weakness) of the arms and/or legs, loss of feeling below the site of injury, loss of bladder and/ or bowel control, breathing difficulties, low blood pressure and muscle spasms.

Diagnostics

The severity of the injury can be assessed as a complete or an incomplete paralysis.
CT and MRI scans are the best radiological assessment tools. CT will help to detect fractures of the spinal column; an MRI detects soft tissue injury including ligament tear, disc displacement, tissue damage and intraspinal haemorrhage. In case of tumours and abscesses, an imaging of the entire spinal column with an injected dye is necessary. X-rays may also be used.
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