How are sacral roots assessed in spinal cord injury (SCI)?

Updated: Nov 01, 2018
  • Author: Lawrence S Chin, MD, FACS, FAANS; Chief Editor: Brian H Kopell, MD  more...
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Perform a rectal examination to check motor function or sensation at the anal mucocutaneous junction. The presence of either is considered sacral-sparing.

The sacral roots may be evaluated by documenting the following:

  • Perineal sensation to light touch and pinprick

  • Bulbocavernous reflex, S3 or S4

  • Anal wink, S5

  • Rectal tone

  • Urine retention or incontinence

  • Priapism

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