Recovery after trauma in the thoracolumbar spinal cord

Friday 12 April 2024, 10:30 am
PhD student
E.M.R. Brouwers
prof. dr. R.H.M.A. Bartels
dr. H. van de Meent, dr. AJ.F. Hosman

Patients with trauma to the thoracolumbar spine may cause damage to the conus medullaris (CM) and the cauda equina (CE). The CM is a part of the spinal cord, whereas the CE is a bundle of nerve roots originating from the spinal cord. Recovery of patients with spinal cord injury is presumed to be less successful than those with injury to nerve roots. Damage to the CM and CE leads to loss of strength and sensation in the legs and genital area. Differentiating between conus medullaris syndrome (CMS) and cauda equina syndrome (CES) is challenging due to overlapping symptoms. Diagnosis is made through MRI examination. This thesis showed that CES patients recover better in terms of leg strength compared to CMS patients, but there is no difference in daily functioning. Part two of this thesis translates and validates the Spinal Cord Injury Quality of Life (SCI-QOL) from English for use in Dutch-speaking patients with spinal cord injury, making it useful for measuring quality of life in the future.

Eveline Brouwers (1983) was originally physiotherapist, but after obtaining her master’s degree (MPA), she works as a physician assistant (PA) neurosurgery at the Radboud University Medical Center since 2013. In addition to this work, she has spent the past few years delving into the recovery of patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries. This formed the basis of her dissertation.