4 Tests Surgery PostOp Devices and More Spinal Cord Injury 101

gt;gt; JUDY FORTIN: Now that we’ve talked about causes and effects of spinal cord injury we’ll move on to medical tests, interventions and secondary complications that might occur during the trauma care or rehabilitation phases of care. We’ll also explain how you might prevent secondary complications. A CT scan or MRI of the spine may show the location and extent of the damage. Spinal xrays may show fracture or damage to the bones of the spine. gt;gt; DR. LEON HALEY: Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce computergenerated images. This test is extremely helpful for looking.

At the spinal cord and identifying herniated disks, swelling, bruising or other masses that may be compressing the spinal cord. Computerized Tomography or CT scan may provide a better look at abnormalities first seen on an xray. This scan uses computers to form a series of crosssectional images that can define bone, disk or other problems. Your may decide to do a Myelogram if other tests are inconclusive. Myelography uses injected dye to help the see spinal nerves more clearly. After the special dye is injected into the spinal canal, Xrays and CT scans of the vertebrae can reveal herniated.

Disks or other problems. It’s important to remember two major factors that can improve the patient’s chance to attain the most function possible and avoid complications along the way. One, it is essential the patient receive immediate trauma care following their injury. Two, once the patient has been stabilized, timely transfer to a specialized spinal cord injury rehabilitation facility can aid greatly in the recovery process. After a spinal cord injury, and initial tests, there is much work to be done to minimize and prevent progression of the injury, including stabilization of the patient’s medical status,.

Reduction and restoration of spinal alignment, decompression of nerves and stabilization of the fractures. Surgery may be necessary at the trauma care center or a nearby . Your loved one may need it to remove fluid or tissue that presses on the spinal column or to remove bone fragments, disk fragments, or hematomas. Surgery helps stabilize fractured vertebrae by fusing the bones with special hardware. Your loved one may wear some type of brace after surgery. Following cervical spinal stabilization, a halo device or cervical collar may be needed. After thoracic or lumbar stabilization procedures, a Jewett brace like this, or a TLSO, which stands for ThoracoLumboSacralOrthosis,.

May be worn. gt;gt; JUDY FORTIN: While the initial injury or disease stabilizes, s also focus their attention on secondary problems that can come up. These include nerve pain, changes in muscle tone, contractures, pressure ulcers, bowel and bladder complications, blood pressure problems, bone density loss, respiratory infections and blood clots. gt;gt; DR. JEFFERY SALOMONE: Nerve pain, also called neuropathic or central pain, can occur after a spinal cord injury, especially in someone with an incomplete injury. Normal treatments include medications and therapy. It is important to treat pain with analgesics,.

Muscle relaxants, and other therapies specific to spinal cord injury protocols. When your loved one is first injured, the body’s muscles become limp. This is known as flaccidity. As reflexes are recovered, your loved one may experience the opposite: spasticity. Spasticity can be reduced by many oral medications, medications injected into the spinal canal, or injections of Botox into the muscles. gt;gt; DR. ROBERT MAXWELL: Pressure ulcers are skin sores that can happen on any part of the body, with bony areas being particularly at risk. Pressure ulcers can be caused by constant pressure from lying or sitting in one spot, friction, moisture, temperature,.

Or poor nutrition, because a patient may not sense deep pressure, pain or light touch. This may also lead to skin breakdown. Pressure ulcers can be prevented or greatly minimized by medical professionals shifting their loved one’s weight on a regular basis. You can learn how to help turn him or her while in bed, or to relieve pressure on the sitting surfaces when he or she is sitting up. Make sure your loved one’s skin is being checked at least twice a day, and that splints are being used instead of casts to make regular checking easier. Point out any skin changes you notice to the care team for immediate treatment.

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