Brown-Séquard syndrome

A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Brown-Séquard syndrome is the result of a hemicord lesion (i.e. damage or impairment to the left or right side of the spinal cord).

Due to some fibres crossing within the cord whilst others cross in the brainstem, the neurology is bilateral, namely 1

  • ipsilateral
  • contralateral
    • ascending lateral spinothalamic tract (which cross 1-2 levels above the level of their respective dorsal root) result in contralateral loss of pain and temperature sensation

There are many reported causes of damage to one side of the cord, including: 

MRI is the modality of choice for assessing patients with suspected Brown-Séquard syndrome and the features in any once case will naturally depend on the underlying cause, although all will have in common (predominantly) unilateral pathology.

The syndrome was first described by the physiologist Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard, who studied spinal cord trauma in sugarcane farmers in Mauritius.

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Article information

rID: 30911
Section: Syndromes
Tags: spine, refs, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Brown-Sequard syndrome

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: ventral cord herniation
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