Spinal Cord Injuries – UC San Diego Health

Posted: October 27, 2015 at 11:42 pm

UC San Diego Health System has a multidisciplinary program for restoring functionto people with spinal cord injuries.

Unlike the peripheral nerves, cells in the spinal cord do not regenerate after an injury.Damage to the spinal cord can impact body function, strength and sensation, causing loss of feeling, weakness and paralysis.


Breathing using phrenic nerve pacer or ventilator.


Basic arm function (elbowflexion) using a nerve transfer.


Grasp and release function, and triceps function


More sophisticated grasp and release and finer hand movements.


*NOTE: All patients with some movement in lower extremities may be considered as candidates for epidural stimulation to improve movement or reduce spasms.

Using epidural spinal cord stimulation, we can improve standing and walking in people who havecervical and thoraciclevel injury.

Recovering even partial arm and hand function after a spinal cord injury can have an enormous impact on independence and quality of life. Our surgeons use the latest surgical techniques and treatments to improve level of functioning.

Surgical and nonsurgical treatment techniques we use:

In the United States, there are approximately:

The human spinal cord is divided into 31 segments. A spinal cord injury is classified depending on where it occurs:

When the spinal cord is damaged, all functions below the point of injury are affected. This means that the higher the injury, the more dysfunction can occur. Our team can help bring back life to paralyzed limbs for all levels of injury through the latest surgical techniques.

Spinal cord injuries are either complete or incomplete. In a complete SCI, the brain and spinal cord are unable to communicate with the rest of the body below the point of injury. In an incomplete SCI, the spinal cord still has the ability to send messages from or to the brain.

The impact of a spinal cord injury on overall bodily function is assessed by the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) impairment scale.

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Spinal Cord Injuries - UC San Diego Health

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