Damage to the spinal cord that results from a motor vehicle accident in Texas is a catastrophic injury. Nerve tissue is so highly specialized that when the cells die, they do not regenerate on their own. Therefore, it is impossible to reverse any damage that occurs as a result of a spinal cord injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment of spinal cord injuries focuses on preventing any further damage, minimizing the risk of complications and maintaining the highest level of functioning possible.
An injury that affects the spinal cord can produce swelling. This can put pressure on the neural tissue. Doctors sometimes seek to prevent further damage by reducing the swelling with medication. One way of accomplishing this is with intravenous steroids. However, though a common practice in the past, it is no longer recommended due to the potential for serious side effects that may cause more harm than good.
Sometimes it is possible to relieve the pressure through a surgical procedure called spinal decompression. This involves removing whatever is putting pressure on the spinal cord, such as material from a broken bone or ruptured disk.
According to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, surgery may also be necessary when the bones of the spine become unstable due to the injury. An internal fixation and instrumentation procedure involves stabilizing the bones by implanting metal components such as rods and screws into the vertebrae to hold them in place.
Bracing may take place after surgery to immobilize the affected area of the spine during postoperative recovery. It may also be useful, even if no surgery takes place, to prevent further injury from unnecessary motion. The type of brace required depends on the level of the spine where the injury took place.
A Jewett brace fits over the torso to treat injuries of the lumbar and lower thoracic spine. When the injury occurs in the cervical spine, i.e. the section found in the neck, or the upper thoracic spine, doctors may place a brace known as a collar that fits around the neck. Bracing is usually temporary after a spinal cord injury.