OBJECTIVE: To compare the motor recovery following transverse myelitis in pediatric patients with and without spinal cord atrophy. METHOD: From January 1995 through December 2009, twenty children (8 boys and 12 girls with an onset at 5.7+/-3.8 years) that were diagnosed with transverse myelitis at a Children's Hospital in Korea, and undertaken an initial and follow-up spine magnetic resonance image (MRI) were included. Medical records and spine MRI scans were reviewed retrospectively. An initial MRI was taken 5.1+/-8.7 days after the onset. The interval between an initial and follow-up MRIs was 33.4+/-23.0 days. The motor recovery differences between subjects with and without spinal cord atrophy on follow-up MRIs were determined. Motor recovery was defined as the elevation of one or more grades of manual muscle tests of the Medical Research Council. RESULTS: Eight patients had developed spinal cord atrophies and 12 patients had not. Of the 8 patients with spinal cord atrophy, 7 showed no motor improvement. Among the 12 patients without atrophy, 11 had motor improvement. Spinal cord atrophy on follow-up MRIs were related to the risk of no motor improvement (odds ratio=77.0, 95% confidence interval [4.114-1441.049], p-value=0.001). CONCLUSION: Children with transverse myelitis who had developed spinal cord atrophy on follow-up MRIs had poor motor recovery than those who had not. The appearance of spinal cord atrophy on follow-up MRI could be an indicator of poor prognosis in pediatric transverse myelitis.