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Updated: Mar 28 2023


  • Snapshot
    • A 40-year-old man presents to his primary care physician with bilateral upper extremity weakness and sensory changes. He describes the sensory changes as "numb to pain and heat." Approximately 8 months ago, he had a multiple sclerosis exacerbation that required hospitalization with intravenous methylprednisolone for 5 days. On physical exam, there is sensory loss to pain and temperature in a "cape-like" distribution of the upper extremity, as well as 4/5 strength. The patient is scheduled for an MRI of the spine. (Post-inflammatory syringomyelia)
  • Introduction
    • Dermatomal maps reflect the sensory distribution for a specific level
      • therefore, one can determine at which level (e.g., brainstem and spinal cord) the lesion is located
        • recall that the primary sensory modalities tested on physical exam includes
          • light touch
          • pain
          • temperature
          • vibration
          • proprioception
    • The dorsal root ganglia contain cell bodies of spinal nerve sensory neurons
    • Upper Extremity
  • Hand
      • Important Dermatomal Landmarks of The Chest and Abdomen
      • Vertebral Level
      • Sensory Area
      • T4
      • Chest at level of nipple
        • "T4 at teat pore"
      • T7
      • Chest at level of xiphoid process
        • "T7 at bottom of sternum"
      • T10
      • Abdomen at level of umbilicus
        • "T10 at belly button (butTEN)"
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