Central Cord Syndrome
(CCS; Central Cervical Cord Syndrome; Central Cord Injury; Injury, Central Cord; Paralysis, Upper Extremity; Syndrome, Central Cord; Syndrome, Central Cervical Cord; Upper Extremity Paralysis; Acute Central Cord Syndrome)
Pronounced: SEN-tral CORD SIN-droh-m
by Mary Cresse
Central cord syndrome (CCS) is a type of incomplete spinal cord injury. CCS is marked by damage to the nerve fibers that bring messages from the brain to the body. This condition affects how you can use your arms and hands, and in some cases, your legs. There may be a loss of sensation and motor control.
CCS is caused by damage to the central part of the spinal cord. This damage may occur when the neck is hyperextended. This can can be associated with:
Common causes of injury include:
CSS can also be due to:
Males over 50 are more likely to have this condition. Risk factors that increase your chances of developing CCS include:
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to CCS. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions.
If CCS is due to trauma, symptoms usually come quickly. Sometimes, however, symptoms may come more slowly.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. A neurologic exam may also be done.
Your doctor may want pictures of your spinal cord. These can be taken with:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Rehab can take a long time for some patients. If you are young and have more muscle function, you have a better chance of recovering.
Treatment options include the following:
In most cases, surgery is not needed. Often treatment involves:
Surgery is needed if there is a large compression of the spinal cord fibers. Surgery may also be done after a period of recovery. For example, if you still have cord compression after a recovery period.
To help reduce your chance of getting a spinal cord injury, take the following steps:
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Spinal Cord Injury Association
Canadian & American Spinal Research Organization
Spinal Cord Research Centre
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Last reviewed March 2013 by Rimas Lukas, MD