Complete Vs. Incomplete Spinal Injuries

How the spinal cord has been damaged is an important consideration when evaluating an injury.

There are two types of injuries: complete and incomplete. Someone with a complete injury will have complete loss of muscle control and sensation below their level of injury and no motor or sensory function in the S4 or S5 area (anal area).

An incomplete injury may result only in muscle paralysis, muscle weakening or impaired sensation. If testing shows any evidence of function in the anal area, the injury is classified as incomplete.

The extent of injury is defined by the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) impairment scale as follows:

  • A - Complete: No sensory or motor function is preserved in sacral segments S4-S5.
  • B - Incomplete: Sensory, but not motor, function is preserved below the neurologic level and extends through sacral segments S4-S5.
  • C - Incomplete: Motor function is preserved below the neurologic level, and most key muscles below the neurologic level have muscle grade less than 3.
  • D - Incomplete: Motor function is preserved below the neurologic level, and most key muscles below the neurologic level have muscle grade greater than or equal to 3.
  • E - Normal: Sensory and motor functions are normal.
  • People with complete injuries recover, on average, 8 percent of lost function (21 percent if they received methylprednisolone). On average, people with incomplete injuries recover 59 percent of lost function (75 percent if they received methylprednisolone).

Legal Representation For California Spinal Cord Injury Victims

For the past 55 years, our legal team has helped spinal cord injury victims lead fulfilling lives by helping them obtain the compensation they are entitled to. Our legal team is highly respected around the nation for the zeal with which we pursue our spine injury cases and our long record of results.

The San Francisco law firm of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger handles spine injury cases throughout the Bay Area, including San Jose, Oakland, Fremont and Vallejo.

For a free consultation to discuss your case, call us at 415-906-3764 or contact the Walkup firm online.