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Spinal Syringomyleia

Syringomyelia (also called a Syrinx) refers to a cyst or fluid collection within the spinal cord. Sometimes these can be present from birth, but more often they can be caused by compression of the spinal cord. Such compression can come from Chiari Malformations, herniated disc, high grade spinal stenosis, spinal instability, or tumors.

The symptoms of a Syringomyelia (or syrinx) are often referred to as central cord syndrome. Such patients have numbness, weakness or pain which is much worse in the arms or legs. These symptoms can lead to handwriting problems, difficulties holding objects, or problems with raising one's arms. It can also produce balance or gait problems

Such fluid collections can be easily seen on MRI scans.

If asymptomatic such Syrinxs require no treatment. If however they are causing symptoms the first approach is to surgically address the cause of the Syrinx. This may include a Chiari decompression, discectomy, or fusion for cervical instability. In general attempts at draining a Syrix may produce more problems than it solves because it involves making an incision in the spinal cord itself. Sometimes however, if a syrix persists even after surgical removal of the root cause, it may be necessary to place a shunt (plastic catheter to drain the fluid into the spinal canal) to decompress the Syrinx cyst. Some newer medications such as Neurontin or Lyrica have proven effective in helping to control some types of arm pain associated with Syrix pressure.

not intended as a substitute for medical advise.  Always consult your physician about your medical condidion.
Last modified: March 7th, 2011