Neoplastic versus traumatic spinal cord injury: An outcome comparison after inpatient rehabilitation

William O. McKinley*, Mark E. Huang, Kristin T. Brunsvold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare outcomes of patients with neoplastic spinal cord compression (SCC) to outcomes of patients with traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) after inpatient rehabilitation. Design: A comparison between patients with a diagnosis of neoplastic SCC admitted to an SCI rehabilitation unit and patients with a diagnosis of traumatic SCI admitted to the regional Model Spinal Cord Injury Centers over a 5-year period, controlling for age, neurologic level of injury, and American Spinal Injury Association impairment classification. Setting: Tertiary university medical centers. Patients: Twenty-nine patients with neoplastic SCC and 29 patients with SCI of traumatic etiology who met standard rehabilitation admission criteria, Main Outcome Measures: Acute and rehabilitation hospital length of stay (LOS), Functional Independence Measure (FIM) scores, FIM change, FIM efficiency, and discharge rates to home. Results: Patients with neoplastic SCC had a significantly (p < .01) shorter rehabilitation LOS than those with traumatic SCI (25.17 vs 57.46 days). No statistical significance was found in acute care LOS. Motor FIM scores on admission were higher in the neoplastic group, but discharge FIM scores and FIM change were significantly lower. Both groups had similar FIM efficiencies and community discharges. Conclusions: Patients with neoplastic SCC can achieve rates of functional gain comparable to those of their counterparts with traumatic SCI. While patients with traumatic SCI achieve greater functional improvement, patients with neoplastic SCC have a shorter rehabilitation LOS and can achieve comparable success with discharge to the community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1253-1257
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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