Which physical findings are characteristic of central cord syndrome (CCS)?

Updated: May 21, 2020
  • Author: Michelle J Alpert, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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Answer

Physical findings related to central cord syndrome are limited to the neurologic system and consist of upper motor neuron weakness in the upper and lower extremities. This impairment can be described as follows:

  • Impairment in the upper extremities is usually greater than in the lower extremities and is especially prevalent in the muscles of the hand.

  • Sensory loss is variable, although sacral sensation is usually present. Anal wink, anal sphincter tone, and Babinski reflexes should be tested.

  • Muscle stretch reflexes may initially be absent but will eventually return along with variable degrees of spasticity in affected muscles.


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