Spinal cord injuries frequently results in significant morbidity including respiratory deficiency, bladder and bowel dysfunction, and loss of motor and sensory function
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Spinal Cord Injuries - General Facts
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, approximately 450,000 persons living in the U.S. today are permanently disabled due to spinal cord injury (SCI). In addition, it is estimated that there are approximately 34,000 new Spinal Cord Injuries in the major pharmaceutical markets each year.

New Spinal Cord Injury Cases by Country

New Cases
Western Europe
Australia & New Zealand
Total Cases

Spinal cord injuries typically occur during an individual's most productive years, between the ages of 16 and 30. The trauma frequently results in significant morbidity including respiratory deficiency, bladder and bowel dysfunction, and loss of motor and sensory function. As a result, patients typically require continuous physical and medical care. The degree of disability and care required depend on the location of the spinal injury and whether the spinal cord injury is complete (~46% of cases) or incomplete (~54% of cases).

While SCI represents a significant physical and psychological burden to the affected individual, it also represents a substantial economic burden to society.

Cost of Various Cord Injuries

Type of Spinal Injury
First Year
Each Subsequent Year
High Tetraplegia (C1-C4)
Low Tetraplegia (C5-C8)
Incomplete Motor Function (Any Level)

Source: SPINAL CORD INJURY - Facts and Figures at a Glance, National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, Birmingham, Alabama, December 2003.

It has also been estimated that the per patient lifetime cost for medical treatment, rehabilitation and other support, ranges from $0.39M for incomplete motor injury at age 50 to $2.4M for a complete high cervical injury at age 25. Putting these figures into perspective, spinal cord injuries cost the U.S. over $14.5 billion per year in direct medical costs and disability support (Berkowitz, et al., Spinal Cord Injury - An Analysis of Medical and Social Costs. New York: Demos Medical Publishing. 1998, page 107). This figure does not include lost productivity, which accounts for an additional $5.5 billion.

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