Neoplastic myelopathies and traumatic spinal cord lesions: An Italian comparison of functional and neurological outcomes

G. Scivoletto, L. M. Lapenna, V. Di Donna, L. Laurenza, S. Sterzi, C. Foti, M. Molinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although neoplastic spinal cord injuries (NSCIs) constitute ∼25% of all non-traumatic spinal cord lesions, patients with such pathologies are seldom, if ever, admitted to specialized centers; further, their rehabilitation typically is short because of the perception that rehabilitation prolongs hospital stays unnecessarily and is reserved only for patients with very good prognoses. Study design: This study is a retrospective analysis. Objective: The objective of this study is to evaluate the neurological and functional outcomes of patients with NSCIs compared with those of patients with traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI). Methods: We evaluated 208 patients with TSCIs and 63 with NSCIs; using a matching cohorts procedure, 43 comparable couples were selected from each group. The measures used to assess these patients were the American Spinal Injury Association standards, the Barthel Index (BI), the Rivermead Mobility Index and the Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury. Results: In the general population, NSCI patients are older and have longer lesion-to-admission times and more incomplete lesions than TSCI patients. Therefore, the functional status at admission and outcomes differed between the groups. In the matching cohorts, TSCI patients had lower BI scores at admission than NSCI subjects. At discharge, the two groups had comparable functional outcomes. Neurological status was similar at admission and at discharge. Conclusions: Although they had slightly disparate functional levels at admission, NSCI and TSCI patients had the same outcomes at discharge. Our data suggest that in a selected cohort of NSCI patients, rehabilitation is as successful as that in TSCI subjects and allows most patients to be discharged instead of being institutionalized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-805
Number of pages7
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • neoplastic spinal cord lesion
  • outcomes
  • traumatic spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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