Syringomyelia

Syringomyelia is a disorder in which cerebrospinal fluid enters the spinal cord, forming a cavity known as a syrinx.

Symptoms

There may be no symptoms or symptoms may include muscle atrophy, muscle weakness, numbness or decreased sensation, pain down the arms, neck, or into the upper back, muscle contractions, and spasms and/or tightness of the leg muscles.

About this Condition

Syringomyelia is a disorder in which cerebrospinal fluid enters the spinal cord, forming a cavity known as a syrinx. It is recommended that patients diagnosed with a Chiari Malformation have the spine imaged to rule out the presence of a syrinx, since it may be a consideration in treatment and prognosis.

Left untreated, the disorder may worsen very slowly, but it can eventually cause severe disability. Surgical decompression usually stops the progression of the disorder, with most people showing significant improvement in neurologic function after surgical decompression.

This content is for your general education only. See your doctor for a professional diagnosis and to discuss an appropriate treatment plan.

Conservative Treatments

Monitoring Syringomyelia

If syringomyelia is discovered on an MRI scan that was done for an unrelated reason, and it is not causing signs or symptoms, monitoring with periodic MRI and neurological exams may be all that is necessary. In rare cases, a syrinx may resolve on its own without treatment.

[Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/syringomyelia/DS01127/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs">Mayo Clinic]

Surgery

Syrinx to Subarachnoid Shunt

A syrinx to subarachnoid shunt is used to restore the natural flow of cerebrospinal fluid. This type of shunt is used to treat syringomyelia. The goal of the surgery is to remove the pressure the syrinx places on your spinal cord. The shunt is a flexible tube with a valve that keeps fluid from the syrinx flowing in the desired direction. The tube is placed with one end in the syrinx and the other just outside the spinal cord. The shunt is placed internally. In some cases, the syrinx may remain even after surgery. Even after a shunt is placed, some signs and symptoms of syringomyelia may remain, as a syrinx can cause permanent spinal cord and nerve damage.
  
 

Please keep in mind that all treatments and outcomes are specific to the individual patient. Results may vary. Complications, such as infection, blood loss, and bowel or bladder problems are some of the potential adverse risks of surgery. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results and other important medical information.