Spinal Canal Stenosis versus Spinal Cord Compression - USMLE Forums
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Old 12-26-2012
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Question Spinal Canal Stenosis versus Spinal Cord Compression

Hi guys,

I am confused with Spinal canal stenosis and Spinal cord compression. How can one tell by the symptoms which one is which?

Thank you!
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Old 12-26-2012
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Spinal cord compression develops when the spinal cord is compressed by bone fragments from a vertebral fracture, a tumor, abscess, ruptured intervertebral disc or other lesions.
Symptoms suggestive of cord compression are back pain, a dermatome of increased sensation, paralysis of limbs below the level of compression, decreased sensation below the level of compression, urinary and fecal incontinence and/or urinary retention. Lhermitte's sign (intermittent shooting electrical sensation) and hyperreflexia may be present.
It is regarded as a medical emergency independent of its cause, and requires swift diagnosis and treatment to prevent long-term disability due to irreversible spinal cord injury.



Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) implies spinal canal narrowing with possible subsequent neural compression. Although the disorder often results from acquired degenerative changes, spinal stenosis may also be congenital in nature. In some cases, the patient has acquired degenerative changes that augment a congenitally narrow canal. The canal components that contribute to acquired stenosis include the facets (hypertrophy, arthropathy), ligamentum flavum (hypertrophy), posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL), vertebral body (bone spurs), intervertebral disk, and epidural fat. Congenital stenosis may predispose an individual with mild degenerative changes to become symptomatic earlier in life.
The primary clinical manifestation of spinal stenosis is chronic pain.
Canal stenosis in the lumbosacral region often results in radicular pain, neurogenic claudication, or both.
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Thank you so much for the reply!

What I'm confused is will spinal canal stenosis also compress the spinal cord, causing symptoms which are seen in spinal cord compression?
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Old 12-26-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USMLEBoy View Post
Thank you so much for the reply!

What I'm confused is will spinal canal stenosis also compress the spinal cord, causing symptoms which are seen in spinal cord compression?
yes, eventually
Quote:
Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) implies spinal canal narrowing with possible subsequent neural compression. Although the disorder often results from acquired degenerative changes, spinal stenosis may also be congenital in nature. In some cases, the patient has acquired degenerative changes that augment a congenitally narrow canal. The canal components that contribute to acquired stenosis include the facets (hypertrophy, arthropathy), ligamentum flavum (hypertrophy), posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL), vertebral body (bone spurs), intervertebral disk, and epidural fat. Congenital stenosis may predispose an individual with mild degenerative changes to become symptomatic earlier in life.
The primary clinical manifestation of spinal stenosis is chronic pain.
Canal stenosis in the lumbosacral region often results in radicular pain, neurogenic claudication, or both. __________________
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Old 12-27-2012
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That's great news. Thank you
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