Of primary importance in spine trauma is the status of the cord. Cord injuries can have a variable appearance. Severe injuries may reveal disruption of cord structure or even complete transection. Milder contusions show high-signal edema within the cord on T2-weighted images, and perhaps cord swelling. Endnote The presence of cord hemorrhage is associated with a poorer prognosis. In the setting of new or progressive signs of neurologic dysfunction, MR can facilitate the diagnosis of delayed complications, such as disk herniation, arachnoid cyst, and posttraumatic cord syrinx. Endnote The syrinx or intramedullary cyst first forms at the site of injury but can extend some distance beyond and become quite large. MR readily distinguishes between syrinx and other posttraumatic changes. Myelomalacia and gliosis are focal processes with poorly defined margins and are associated with cord atrophy. A syrinx has well-defined margins and frequently expands the cord. 

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