Advertisement




More DailyStrength
Health Event Calendar
See what's new on the site
Step-by-step Tutorials
How to use DailyStrength
We're on Facebook
Check out our page
Follow us on Twitter
Read our tweets
Get Cool DS Stuff!!!!!
Shirts, Hats, Baby Wear

Syringomyelia Information

  • Syringomyelia is a disorder in which a cyst or tubular cavity forms within the spinal cord. This cyst, called a syrinx, expands and elongates over time, destroying the center of the spinal cord. Since the spinal cord connects the brain to nerves in the extremities, this damage results in pain, weakness, and stiffness in the back, shoulders, arms, or legs. Other symptoms may include headaches and a loss of the ability to feel extremes of hot or cold, especially in the hands. Each patient experiences a different combination of symptoms...
  • Other, more common disorders share the early symptoms of syringomyelia. In the past, this has made diagnosis difficult. The advent of one outpatient test, however, called magnetic resonance imaging or MRI, has significantly increased the number of syringomyelia cases diagnosed in the beginning stages of the disorder.

    About 21,000 American men and women have syringomyelia, with symptoms usually beginning in young adulthood. Signs of the disorder tend to develop slowly, although sudden onset may occur with coughing, straining, or myelopathy. If not treated surgically, syringomyelia often leads to progressive weakness in the arms and legs, loss of hand sensation, and chronic, severe pain.

    The first step after diagnosis is finding a neurosurgeon who is experienced in the treatment of syringomyelia. Finding a specialist is highly recommended. Surgery is the only viable treatment for syringomyelia, but not all patients will advance to the stage where surgery is needed. Evaluation of the condition is often difficult because syringomyelia can remain stationary for long periods of time, and in some cases progress rapidly.

    Surgery is usually recommended for syringomyelia patients. Treatment is aimed at correcting the condition that allowed the syrinx to form, if possible. In cases involving a Chiari Malformation, the main goal of surgery is to provide more space for the cerebellum at the base of the skull and upper cervical spine without entering the brain or spinal cord. This often results in flattening or disappearance of the primary syrinx or cavity as the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid is restored. If a tumor is causing syringomyelia, removal of the tumor is the treatment of choice and almost always eliminates the syrinx.

    Surgery results in stabilization or modest improvement in symptoms for most patients. Delay in treatment may result in irreversible spinal cord injury. Recurrence of syringomyelia after surgery may make additional operations necessary; these may not be completely successful over the long term.

  • Click to expand

Member Photos

Advertisement

Latest Activity