Traumatic cervical Brown-Sequard and Brown-Sequard-plus syndromes: the spectrum of presentations and outcomes

Paraplegia. 1991 Nov;29(9):582-9. doi: 10.1038/sc.1991.86.


Brown-Sequard syndrome (BSS) and Brown-Sequard-plus syndrome (BSPS) are characterised by asymmetrical paresis with hypalgesia more marked on the less paretic side. This study examined the clinical features of 38 patients (30 males and 8 females; mean age = 32 years) with traumatic cervical BSS or BSPS who underwent comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation. Twenty two injuries were caused by road traffic accidents, 8 by penetrating injuries, 5 by diving injuries, and 3 by other causes. After an average of 35 days in acute care and 79 days in rehabilitation, 37 patients had increased muscle strength, all 38 patients improved functional abilities, 29 patients walked independently, 34 had spontaneous bladder emptying, 36 were discharged home, and 14 were employed. Statistically significant increases (p less than 0.001) were made in modified Barthel index functional scores between admission and discharge. Patients with BSPS had a better prognosis than did those with 'pure' BSS. Patients with predominant upper limb weakness had more favourable outcomes than did those with predominant lower limb weakness. Few other potentially predictive demographic, injury, or neurological factors were associated with functional outcome. Patients with BSS or BSPS generally have a good prognosis for neurological and functional improvement.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Neck
  • Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Nervous System Diseases / rehabilitation
  • Prognosis
  • Quadriplegia / complications*
  • Quadriplegia / rehabilitation
  • Sensation*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation