The corticospinal tract can be found within the spinal cord and together with the corticobulbar (lower brainstem) tract make up the larger “pyramidal tract”. The cortiospinal tract contains impulses that are sent between the spinal cord and brain. This tract is controlled by voluntary movement – meaning that it reacts based on a person’s direct actions.
This syndrome is the result of damage to the anterior two thirds of the spinal cord, which receives its blood supply from the anterior spinal artery, the posterior columns are preserved. The classic mechanism of injury involves a flexion-compression force on the cervical spine. Patients will have minimal if any distal motor function because of damage to the lateral corticospinal tracts.
¹Abitbol MD, Jean-Jacques. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update: Spine. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2002.