What are the chances of recovery from transverse myelitis (TM)?

Recovery from transverse myelitis (TM) usually begins within two to 12 weeks of the onset of symptoms and may continue for up to two years. However, if there is no improvement within the first three to six months, significant recovery is unlikely. About one-third of people affected with TM experience good or full recovery from their symptoms; they regain the ability to walk normally, and experience minimal urinary or bowel effects and paresthesias. Another one-third show only fair recovery and are left with significant deficits, such as spastic gait, sensory dysfunction, and prominent urinary urgency or incontinence. The remaining one-third show no recovery at all, remaining wheelchair-bound or bedridden with marked dependence on others for basic functions of daily living. Unfortunately, making predictions about individual cases is difficult. However, research has shown that a rapid onset of symptoms generally results in poorer recovery outcomes.

The majority of people with this disorder experience only one episode, although in rare cases recurrent or relapsing TM does occur. Some patients recover completely, then experience a relapse. Others begin to recover, then suffer worsening of symptoms before recovery continues. In all cases of relapse, physicians will likely investigate possible underlying causes such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or systemic lupus erythematosus, since most people who experience relapse have an underlying disorder.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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Brain & Nervous System Disorders

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.