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What Is Brown-Sequard Syndrome?

When we think of spinal cord injuries, many people think of paraplegia, which involves paralysis in the legs, or quadriplegia, which involves paralysis in the arms and legs. However, there are other types of incomplete spinal cord injuries that can be just as disabling.

Brown-Sequard syndrome is a rare condition that can be caused by trauma to the spinal cord in the neck or back. Patients with symptoms should immediately see a doctor and, if an accident caused the condition, meet with a Miami personal injury attorney.

Characteristics of Brown-Sequard Syndrome

Typically, trauma to one side of the spinal cord causes this condition. The patient experiences a loss of sensation and paralysis on the side of the body that has experienced trauma and a loss of temperature sensation and pain on the opposite side. Consequently, a patient who has suffered injury on the left-hand side of their spinal cord could become paralyzed on that side and be unable to use their left leg and/or arm. They will not be paralyzed on the right-hand side but will experience impairment in their ability to feel pain or experience temperature.

This syndrome is fairly rare because it is caused only by an injury that damages the nerve fibers on a single side of the spinal cord. A puncture to the cord is a common cause. People can be injured in a violent attack (such as a knife attack) or when a piece of metal from an exploding object lodges in their spinal column.


Symptoms are like what we see in many spinal cord injuries:

  • Loss of sensation below the point of injury
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Muscle atrophy in the affected area

Paralysis might be immediately present, or it could develop slowly. Those who experience any of these symptoms after an injury to their back or neck should immediately see a doctor.

Treating this Syndrome

Because the injury is incomplete, there is still functioning of the spinal cord. Many patients make a strong recovery. According to one source, 90% of individuals will regain the ability to control their bladder and bowel. Many also will be able to walk again, though they probably will need physical therapy. As with most spinal cord injuries, the sooner the victim begins to receive treatment, the better.

The road to recovery is long, and medical expenses can be prohibitive. Contact a Miami spinal cord injury lawyer at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP today. We offer free consultations to those who call 305-371-2692.