Dermatological findings following acute traumatic spinal cord injury

D. Rubin-Asher, G. Zeilig, M. Klieger, A. Adunsky, H. Weingarden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study design: Prospective study. Objective: To identify and define dermatological conditions following acute traumatic spinal cord injury (ATSCI) during inpatient rehabilitation. Setting: Spinal Cord Injury Unit, The Department of Neurological Rehabilitation, The Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Israel. Methods: During a 1-year study, all patients following ATSCI were prospectively studied for new dermatological findings during their inpatient rehabilitation. Every new dermatological finding was defined concerning its location with regard to the patient's neurological level, the time from injury to appearance and the exact dermatological diagnosis. Results: During the study year, 46 ATSCI patients were hospitalized in our department, of whom were 38 (82.6%) males and eight (17.4%) females (mean age 30.2 years). A total of 21 (45.6%) patients were tetraplegic and 25 (54.3%) paraplegic. Of the patients, 28 (60.9%) had complete neurological injuries and 18 (39.1%) incomplete. In all, 14 (30.4%) patients developed a dermatological condition. There was no significant age or sex correlation to the development of these complications. There was a greater likelihood of paraplegia (48 versus 9.5%, P = 0.005) and being neurologically complete (42.9 versus 11.1%, P = 0.02). The dermatological findings appeared on an average of 80.3 days after the initial neurological insult. There were a total of 22 different dermatological findings: 11 (50%) were local fungal infections, two (9.1%) psoriatic lesions, two (9.1%) hyperkeratotic lesions, two (9.1%) bacterial infections (one folliculitis, one impetigo) and single cases of seborrheic dermatitis, acne, alopecia, scabies and allergic reaction. Of the findings, 14 (63.6%) were below the neurological level, including all of the fungal infections. Conclusions: Dermatological findings are common during rehabilitation of ATSCI. The clinical impact of these findings is low, but nevertheless, they are troublesome to the patient. The most common dermatological disorder was a local fungal infection below the neurological level. Paraplegic patients are more susceptible to the development of this condition. Patient and staff reservededucation regarding proper skin care may reduce these infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-178
Number of pages4
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Dermatological finding
  • Local fungal infection
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Tinea pedis


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