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Complex Spinal Deformities and Degenerative Spine

Learn about the types of complex spinal deformities and degenerative spine, Stenosis, Scoliosis, and Charcot Spine.


  • What is it? A narrowing of the spinal canal may occur after spinal cord injury secondary to progressive degenerative changes to the spine. This narrowing may impair spinal cord and/or nerve root function.
  • Signs and Symptoms: The narrowing can cause pain, loss of sensation, loss of movement, spasticity, autonomic dysreflexia, and/or hyperhidrosis.
  • Surgical Treatment: Surgical Treatment Surgery is performed to give the spinal cord and nerve roots more room so that they can function better.


  • What is it? A progressive curvature to the spine may occur after spinal cord injury, known as scoliosis.
  • Signs and Symptoms: Like the Charcot spine, scoliosis can cause progressive neurologic deterioration, pain, spasticity, autonomic dysreflexia, and hyperhidrosis (abnormal sweating). In addition, a patient may notice a change in posture.
  • Surgical Treatment: Surgical Treatment Surgery is performed to realign and stabilize the spine.

Charcot Spine

  • What is it? Months or more commonly years after a spinal cord injury, the bony structure of the spine may deteriorate below the level of injury, causing it to become unstable. This is known as a Charcot spine.
  • Signs and Symptoms: This instability can lead to pain, neurologic loss, spasticity, autonomic dysreflexia and/or hyperhidrosis (abnormal sweating). The deterioration of the spine can cause changes in posture as well.
  • Surgical Treatment: Surgical Treatment Surgery is performed to stabilize the spine by way of spinal fusion and instrumentation.