What do “complete” and “incomplete” spinal cord injury mean?
Simply put, a “complete” injury means that damage to the spinal cord is quite severe; at the time of diagnosis, there is no feeling and/or movement below the level of injury to the spinal cord. An “incomplete” injury means there is some feeling or movement below the level of injury; how much function will return as a result of this “sparing” remains to be seen. Approximately 12,000 spinal cord injuries occur each year in the United States; there are approximately 273,000 people living with a spinal cord injury. Over the past 20 years, the percentage of people with incomplete (versus complete) injuries has increased.