Spinal Cord Compression

Posted by e-Medical PPT Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Spinal cord compression develops when the spinal cord is compressed by bone fragments from a vertebral fracture, a tumor, abscess, ruptured intervertebral disc or other lesion.Symptoms suggestive of cord compression are back pain, a dermatome of increased sensation, paralysis of limbs below the level of compression, decreased sensation below the level of compression, urinary and fecal incontinence and/or urinary retention. Lhermitte's sign (intermittent shooting electrical sensation) and hyperreflexia may be present.
The most common causes of cord compression are tumors, but abscesses and granulomas (e.g. in tuberculosis) are equally capable of producing the syndrome. Tumors that commonly cause cord compression are lung cancer (non-small cell type), breast cancer, prostate cancer, renal cell carcinoma, thyroid cancer, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
Diagnosis is by X-rays but preferably magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the whole spine.

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