Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Spinal Cord Compression Overview

Another name for Spinal Cord Compression is Epidural Compression Syndrome.

What is epidural compression syndrome?
The dura is the lining that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord. In the spine, the epidural space is the area between the dura, lining the spinal cord, and the bones that make up the spinal canal. A person with epidural compression syndrome has a swelling or mass in the epidural space that places pressure on the spinal cord. This pressure can cause the nerves in the spinal cord to malfunction. The mass or swelling can be caused by an injury (bleeding), infection, tumor or inflammation.

What are the symptoms of epidural compression syndrome?
Initial symptoms of epidural compression syndrome include neck pain, back pain, and difficulty walking. Symptoms of worsening epidural compression syndrome include impotence, urinary incontinence, urinary retention, and arm or leg weakness or numbness.

How does the doctor treat epidural compression syndrome?
The treatment for epidural compression syndrome depends on the underlying cause. Treatment for epidural compression may include surgery, radiation therapy, and corticosteroids.

Continue to Spinal Cord Compression Risk Factors

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Spinal Cord Compression References
  1. Byrne TN. Metastatic epidural cord compression. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2004 May;4(3):191-5. [15102344]
  2. Chamberlain MC, Kormanik PA. Epidural spinal cord compression: a single institution's retrospective experience. Neuro-oncol. 1999 Apr;1(2):120-3. [11550307]
  3. Eriks IE, Angenot EL, Lankhorst GJ. Epidural metastatic spinal cord compression: functional outcome and survival after inpatient rehabilitation. Spinal Cord. 2004 Apr;42(4):235-9. [15060521]
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