The ASIA Impairment scale is another helpful guide to understanding an injury. It was developed by doctors at the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) to categorize the extent of an injury in terms of the degree of damage to the spinal cord.
If the injury is “complete,” (ASIA A) it means that no messages can travel across the location of the injury to the brain. However, “incomplete” injuries, which mean that some messages can still get through, are classified as ASIA B, ASIA C or ASIA D, depending on the amount of movement and feeling that remain below the level of the injury. Here are the classifications:
ASIA A: Complete. No motor or sensory function is preserved below the level of the injury, including the sacral segments S4 – S5
ASIA B: Incomplete. Sensory, but not motor function is preserved below the neurological level of injury, and includes the sacral segments S4 – S5
ASIA C: Incomplete. Motor function is preserved below the neurological level of injury, but more than half of the key muscles below the level have a muscle grade less than 3 (i.e. unable to move against gravity)
ASIA D: Incomplete. Motor function is preserved below the neurological level of injury, and at least half the key muscles below the injury level have a muscle grade of 3 or more (i.e. joints can be moved against gravity)
ASIA E: Normal. Motor and sensory functions are normal.
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