Brown-Sequard Syndrome Life Expectancy

Brown-Sequard Syndrome is caused by the damage (miscection) of the spinal cord, resulting into loss of propriocepiton on the side of the injury. On the opposite side of the lesion, the patient may lose pain and temperature sensation, all of which could affect one's life expectancy if the condition is not addressed in time.

Named after Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard, who gave a description of the condition in 1850, the Brown-Sequard Syndrome still remains a threat to the lives of many. However, this is a curable condition if all the necessary procedures are adhered to.

Any spinal injuries that lead to an incomplete lesion can be classified as partial Brown-Sequard Syndrome and immediate action should be taken before the situation gets complex or transforms into a complete Brown-Sequard Syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by among other things the loss of vibration feel and sense of position, and patients suffering from the same display weakness of the side of the injury. Mostly, the condition occurs after stabbing on the back or after an accident leading to strain on the spinal cord. Gun wounds have also contributed to the development of the condition. Therefore, it is advisable to visit a medical professional immediately you notice any problems on your back, especially after a rough experience like an accident.

Fine and crude touch

Crude touch fibres are located inside the spinothalamic tract and when these fibres are shaken out of position, the patient is not able to tell where they were touched, but will only know that someone touched them. This amounts to loss of both fine and crude touch and this is a matter that could impact on one's life expectancy.

Reports on life expectancy indicate that those who embrace treatment immediately the signs show up are able to secure themselves from the harmful effects that come with the severity of the condition.

Diagnosis and patient education

The best choice for imaging the spinal cord to reveal any defects is using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). One is encouraged to visit any well equipped clinic for diagnoses that will help determine the right course of action. Patients should also be made aware of their body systems functions, the effects of the condition and how to cope to keep their life expectancy in check.

Etiology: traumatic causes

The Brown-Sequard Syndrome is caused by damage to a part of the spinal cord. Among most common cases of the syndrome, traumatic injuries such as the penetration of a bullet or stab wounds have been highlighted as the top reasons the condition would spread so easily. Unusual aetiologies like the draining of cerebrospinal fluid have also been highlighted.

Non traumatic causes

Several non-traumatic causes of the syndrome have been revealed. This includes among others tumour, disc hernitation, radiation, syphilis, meningitis and intravenous drug administration. When you are facing any of the highlighted cases, you should be aware of the potential risks to your spinal cord, and as a preventive measure it is advisable to seek professional guidance.

Epidemiology: Occurrence

Although Brown-Séquard syndrome is not common, there are few statistical records that show it could be a threat to the life expectancy of individuals. In the U.S., the occurrence of traumatic SCIs stands at 12, 000 cases each year, with 2%-4% suffering from Brown-Séquard syndrome. However, the largest number of those who have suffered the syndrome is unknown and could be more than 273, 000 globally.

Race, sex, age demographics

According to the SCI database, since 2010, at least 67 percent of spinal cord injuries happened in the white population, while 24.4 percent of the cases occurred in African Americas. Hispanics have so far accounted for 7.9 percent of the cases and the remaining 0.7 was recorded in other racial groups. Males suffered most of these injuries than females and population based statistics revealed that spinal injuries are more in people aged between 16 and 30 years.


Motor recovery in the syndrome is impressive. More than one and a half of 1-year recovery happens during the first two months after injury. The recovery process could take up to two years depending on the severity of the injury. Many patients who are diagnosed with incomplete injuries are able to ambulate at their initial examination.

Morbidity and mortality

The long term effects of the Brown-Séquard syndrome are similar with the ones linked to aging and SCI. During initial hospitalization, the mortality rate is 5.7 percent, if no actions are taken like performing surgeries. In place of surgical intervention, the mortality rates are fixed at 2.7 percent.