May 9, 1998

Biology of neurological recovery and functional restoration after spinal cord injury

C H Tator


This article reviews the anatomic and pathophysiological bases for recovery of neurological function after experimental or clinical spinal cord injury (SCI). Current knowledge regarding the recovery of neurological function after experimental or clinical SCI was reviewed to determine the biological basis of neurological recovery. There is a great propensity for recovery after clinical or experimental SCI. An examination of the anatomic basis of recovery indicates that there is a potential for both root and cord recovery, with the latter involving recovery of both gray and white matter of the cord. Resolution of acute injury events, such as hemorrhaging, and resolution of secondary pathophysiological processes, such as ischemia and excitotoxicity, can each account for recovery. The third recovery mechanism involves regrowth or regeneration of nervous tissue, resulting from either inherent or induced processes. During the Decade of the Brain, there has been a profusion of very promising in vitro and in vivo studies that have shown enhanced neurological recovery after experimental or clinical SCI.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Post-Traumatic Myelopathy
In Vivo
Malignant Neoplasm of Spinal Cord
Neoplasm of Uncertain or Unknown Behavior of Spinal Cord
Nerve Regeneration
Nervous System Structure
Spinal Cord Diseases

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