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September 8, 1978

Progressive Sensory Loss One Year After Bullet Injury of Spinal Cord

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology (Drs Nino, Leppik, and Lai) and Neurosurgery (Dr Martin), St Paul-Ramsey Hospital and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

JAMA. 1978;240(11):1173-1174. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290110071024

REAPPEARANCE of neurological deficit in a patient who has recovered from spinal cord trauma is unusual.1,2 We saw a patient in whom numbness and weakness of the right leg developed one year after she recovered from an indirect bullet injury to the conus medullaris and cauda equina.

Report of a Case  A 29-year-old woman sustained a selfinflicted,.38-caliber gunshot wound to the abdomen. There was no exit wound, and roentgenograms proved that the bullet was lodged near L-1. She had loss of sensation below T-10 and was unable to move her legs.An emergency laparotomy and Whipple procedure were performed. The bullet had passed through the head of the pancreas, between the aorta and inferior vena cava, and lodged in the paraspinal muscle mass.Her recovery from the laparotomy was uneventful. She was able to move her left leg a few days after the injury, but her right leg remained