Formation of spinal cord scar tissue


Neuro Corner Answers

Dr. Andrew Isaacs
DVM Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology)
Dogwood Veterinary Referral Center

Primary interests include intervertebral disc disease, seizure management, luxations/fractures of the spine, and surgery for brain tumors



A dog who had NO previous herniation (not even a yelp of back pain), suddenly displayed IVDD like symptoms (pain, neuro deficit, etc). After examining the dog and a myelogram, the surgeon determined there were two bulging discs with some scar tissue material pressing on the spinal cord as the body had previously tried to heal itself.



Can scar tissue be formed so fast for it to be a consequence of a current herniation?

Not likely (but I never say never).  However, more likely it was from another episode.  The myelogram showed two sites of spinal cord compression.  One was the acute disk that caused the recent decline in neuro status and the other site of compression was chronic from a previous disk herniation.

It is not unusual for us to occasionally see when imaging the spine (MRI/CT/myelogram) a disk that looks chronic in addition to the acute disk (especially in Dachshunds).

If scar tissue is a result of a previous herniation, can scar tissue be formed with a herniation so “mild” it produces practically no symptoms?


What does it take for a dog’s body to start forming scar tissue on the spinal cord?
Tissue (disk material) being where it normally should not be (spinal canal) causes inflammation and subsequent scar tissue (adhesions).



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