What is syringomyelia?
Syringomyelia is a rare disease that affects the neurological system and is characterized by the formation of fluid-containing cysts (called syringes) in the spinal cord. Over time, these cysts lead to the appearance of some neurological disorders that characterize the disease. If these cysts expand too much, they can lead to serious problems in the spinal cord and damage the transmission of nerve impulses.
Syringomyelia causes cysts to form in the spinal cord.
Prognosis of the disease
The prognosis of the disease depends on the severity of the causes that triggered the disease and the effectiveness of surgical intervention.
Symptoms of syringomyelia
The main symptoms of syringomelia are:
- Pain in various parts of the body
- Feeling of stiffness in the back, shoulders, arms, and legs
- Feeling of weakness
- Muscle atrophy
- Loss of pain sensitivity to room temperature
- Loss of reflexes
- Spasms in the legs
Diagnosis for syringomelia
To obtain a correct diagnosis, it is advisable to undergo the following tests:
- Objective examination
- Examination of the clinical history
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- CT SCAN
- Lumbar puncture for cerebrospinal fluid sampling
What are the causes of syringomelia?
Syringomelia can be congenital or acquired.
- Congenital syringomelia: in most cases it is associated with a malformation of the cerebellum (Chiari malformation).
- Acquired syringomelia: can be caused by spinal cord trauma, meningitis, spinal cord tumor, rigid spine syndrome or spinal cord hemorrhage.
Can it be prevented?
Syringomelia is a pathology that cannot be prevented due to the impossibility of preventing the causes that provoke it.
Treatments for syringomelia
When the stage of syringomelia is not so advanced as to interfere with daily life, the pathology is only monitored. If this interferes with normal daily life, it is necessary to undergo surgery depending on the cause of the syringomelia (Chiari malformation, spinal cord tumor or rigid spine syndrome). As an alternative to these surgical techniques, another procedure called surgical shunt can be used, which momentarily reduces the symptoms and the sensation of pain caused by the pathology. This procedure consists of a drainage system that allows the syringes to be emptied into the abdomen (syringoperitoneal shunt).
Which specialist should be consulted?
In the case of syringomelia, it is advisable to see a specialist in Neurology or Neurosurgery.