UAB Spinal Cord Injury Model System

What is an “incomplete” spinal cord injury?

Doctors use the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury when determining the classification of injuries. If there is evidence of any motor or sensory function in the area around the anus, one of four classifications is given according to the ASIA Impairment Scale.

  • ASIA B = Sensory Incomplete. Sensory but not motor function is preserved below the neurological level and includes the sacral segments S4-S5 (light touch, pin prick at S4-S5: or deep anal pressure, AND no motor function is preserved more than three levels below the motor level on either side of the body.
  • ASIA C = Motor Incomplete. Motor function is preserved below the neurological level, and more than half of key muscle functions below the single neurological level of injury have a muscle grade less than 3.
  • ASIA D = Motor Incomplete. Motor function is preserved below the neurological level and at least half (half or more) of key muscle functions below the neurological level of injury have a muscle grade greater than 3.
  • ASIA E = Normal. If sensation and motor function as tested with the International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury are graded as normal in all segments, and the patient had prior deficits, then the AIS grade is E.