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Below are questions we often hear from our patients and their families. Please talk to your treatment team about any specific questions or concerns you have about your spinal cord injury recovery and rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed.

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.

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