Glossary term:

Dorsal columns

Tracts of nerve fibres that pass up the back of the spinal cord. They carry those signals from the body that convey information about light touch and proprioception. Most operations on the spinal cord itself involve an approach from the back so the dorsal columns may be damaged by the surgical dissection, sometimes inevitably. Patients are normally warned that some loss of light touch sensation and/or joint position sense may result from any such surgery and that such loses this can cause significant disability.