Q:

What is the prognosis for transverse myelitis?

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Quick Answer

About one third of patients treated for transverse myelitis make a good or full recovery with only minor, lingering problems, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Another third have a fair recovery, while the remaining third do not recover from the disease at all despite treatment. People usually start to recover within two weeks to three months after symptoms appear, and the recovery process can take as long as two years.

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Full Answer

Doctors believe that if the patient does not improve within three to six months, a full recovery is unlikely, explains the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Patients are also unlikely to recover if the symptoms came on suddenly.

People who make a good recovery from transverse myelitis usually only have such effects as minor problems with their urinary or bowel habits, says the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. They may also suffer paresthesias, which are episodes of prickling or burning in their appendages or other parts of the body. Other than this, they are able to walk normally.

A patient whose recovery was only partial usually has a stiff, awkward gait and may be incontinent, states the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He may also have some sensory deprivation. Patients who see no improvement at all remain immobile and dependent on others for help.

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