Brown-Sequard syndrome (BSS) is a rare neurological condition characterized by a lesion in the spinal cord which results in weakness or paralysis (hemiparaplegia) on one side of the body and a loss of sensation (hemianesthesia) on the opposite side. BSS may be caused by a spinal cord tumor, trauma (such as a puncture wound to the neck or back), ischemia (obstruction of a blood vessel), or infectious or inflammatory diseases such as tuberculosis, or multiple sclerosis.
This syndrome is often a consequence of a traumatic injury by a knife or gunshot to the spine or neck. In many cases, however, it is caused by, or is the result of, other spinal disorders such as cervical spondylosis, arachnoid cyst or epidural hematomas. Brown-Séquard syndrome may also accompany bacterial or viral infections. Blunt traumas, such as occur in a fall or automobile accident, on rare occasions may be the cause of the Brown-Séquard syndrome.
The medical literature cites, as causing or being associated with BSS, the following conditions: lateral curvature of the spine (kyphosis), Chiari I malformation, methamphetamine injection in the neck, multiple sclerosis, spinal epidural hematoma, intramedullary spinal cord tumor, and myeloschisis. Among the infectious or inflammatory causes cited are: meningitis, empyema, herpes zoster, herpes simplex, myelitis, and tuberculosis.
Brown-Séquard syndrome is a rare disorder that affects males and females in equal numbers. There is no specific treatment for individuals with it. In most instances, treatment focuses on the underlying cause of the disorder. Treatment may involve drugs that control muscle symptoms, and there is some dispute as to whether high-dose steroid administration is effective.
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