Knowledge Creation

Below you will find some information and explanations from the field of spinal cord injury as well as the most recent publications from the Department.

 Paraparesis / paraplegia

By paraparesis we mean incomplete paralysis and by paraplegia mean the complete paralysis of the legs due to a spinal cord injury in area from the thoracic spine to the lumbar spine.

The further down the injury occurs, the more muscles can still be controlled arbitrarily. If the damage is to the upper area of the thoracic spine, the trunk control is affected, so that sitting freely is difficult.

 Tetraparesis / tetraplegia

By tetraparese we mean the incomplete and by tetraplegia the complete paralysis of the arms and legs. This occurs with damage to the cervical spinal cord, i.e. a spinal cord injury at the level of the cervical vertebrae.

Depending on the damage height individual muscles of the arms can still be selectively controlled even with a complete paralysis.

If the injury is very high in the cervical spinal cord, the respiratory musculature is also affected, so that long-term ventilation may be required. For tetraplegics, there are special environmental control devices with which a telephone, light, television and similar devices can be operated by blowing. Tetraplegics usually need an electric wheelchair which can be controlled via a chin joystick, even with a high paralysis .

 Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome occurs with a spinal cord injury in the lower lumbar spine. Here, especially flaccid paralysis in the area of the feet or the lower leg as well as bladder and bowel emptying disorders and sensory disturbances are exhibited.

Incomplete / complete paralysis
With a full paralysis, both the feeling as well as the ability to move below the level of the injury are missing.

With incomplete paralysis the feeling and / or mobility are still present but the severity can be very different here, from slightly limited movement to tangible muscle tension, but which does not result in movement.

The distinction between complete and incomplete paralysis is a prognosis criterion, especially in the acute phase.

 Pressure Ulcers

Pressure ulcers, frequently occur on the buttocks. Conservative treatment is possible for superficial pressure ulcers. Deeper defects must be surgically rehabilitated and then, if necessary, covered with a plastic flap.

 Neurogenic Disorders

Neurogene Bladder

Bladder voiding dysfunction with nerve injury of the spinal cord.

Treatment may take place with medication or with a catheter. With catheters it may be possible to use intermittent catheters. If this is not possible a suprapubic catheter can be fitted, wchich is a bladder catheter introduced through the abdominal wall.

Neurogenic Colon Emptying Disorder

(Partial) incontinence of bowel movements or intestinal sluggishness (with consequential constipation) due to nerve injury in the spinal cord.

 Spasticity

Spasticity is an increased muscle tension in paralyzed or partially paralyzed areas.

Spasticities are often spasmodic. A slight spasticity can be useful, eg. with transfers from wheelchair to bed or similar. A severe spasticity is however more of a hindrance, so that here medical therapy is used, but an excessive spasticity is often difficult to treat.