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Bone & Joint Open
Vol. 3, Issue 5 | Pages 348 - 358
1 May 2022
Stokes S Drozda M Lee C

This review provides a concise outline of the advances made in the care of patients and to the quality of life after a traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) over the last century. Despite these improvements reversal of the neurological injury is not yet possible. Instead, current treatment is limited to providing symptomatic relief, avoiding secondary insults and preventing additional sequelae. However, with an ever-advancing technology and deeper understanding of the damaged spinal cord, this appears increasingly conceivable. A brief synopsis of the most prominent challenges facing both clinicians and research scientists in developing functional treatments for a progressively complex injury are presented. Moreover, the multiple mechanisms by which damage propagates many months after the original injury requires a multifaceted approach to ameliorate the human spinal cord. We discuss potential methods to protect the spinal cord from damage, and to manipulate the inherent inhibition of the spinal cord to regeneration and repair. Although acute and chronic SCI share common final pathways resulting in cell death and neurological deficits, the underlying putative mechanisms of chronic SCI and the treatments are not covered in this review.