OrthoTexas, Frisco is a leading group of spine surgeons providing effective treatment for various orthopedic conditions. They specialize in diagnosing and treating medical conditions affecting the bones, nerves, nerve roots, ligaments and tissues in the spine.


Syringomyelia refers to a chronic disorder which affects the spinal cavity. It leads to the development of fluid-filled cavities, also referred to as syrinx, in the spinal cord. The cerebrospinal fluid that flows around the spine and the brain may start accumulating within the spinal cord leading to the formation of cysts (syrinx). This condition is believed to be more common in men and people in the age group of 3-40 years. Syringomyelia often progresses gradually over a period of many years and its symptoms may not be perceived easily during the initial stages. However, the condition may show rapid progress if it affects the brain in addition to the spinal cord.

Causes Of Syringomyelia

  • Trauma/Injury to the spinal cord
  • Infection in the spinal cord
  • Inflammation of the soft tissues/membranes- Meningitis
  • Development of bone spurs
  • Disc disease
  • Protruding brain tissues into the spinal cavity- Chiari malformation
  • Congenital disorder of the spine
  • Tumor which may restrict the cerebrospinal fluid to move freely

Symptoms Of Syringomyelia

  • Abnormal gait
  • Inability to move without support
  • Bowel dysfunction, growth of bed sores (decubitus ulcers)
  • Loss of control over the sensory and motor functional abilities of the body (partial/complete paralysis)
  • Loss of ability to feel pain or change in temperature
  • Mild to severe pain and discomfort in the neck, arms, upper body during the early stages of the disease
  • Claw Hand may develop in some cases
  • Loss of sexual functions in severe cases
  • Enlargement of the shoulder
  • Excessive sweating, numbness or weakness may be experienced
  • Scoliosis- abnormal curving of the spinal cord

Diagnosis Of Syringomyelia

  • Evaluation of the patient’s limbs, their functional capability and reflexes
  • The doctor may ask the patient about his/her ability to control the bowel movement
  • The doctor may closely monitor and assess the apparent symptoms
  • Analysis of the neurological history and some tests may be done
  • CT scan of the spinal canal
  • MRI scan to get images of the soft tissues which may have been infected
  • Myelography which involves injecting a contrast medium within the spinal cavity before taking X-ray for a better view of cysts/tumors etc

Treatment For Syringomyelia

  • Avoiding any activities that may pressurize or strain the spine or neck
  • If the condition is not progressive and does not show any symptoms that inhibit the daily activities of the patient, the doctor may recommend regular monitoring
  • In severe cases of Syringomyelia, surgical intervention may be performed to enlarge the base of the skull, insert a shunt (drainage device) to remove fluid from the syrinx and remove tumor or bone spurs that may obstruct the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. The procedure may also involve correcting any inherent abnormality within the spinal cavity.

For diagnosis and treatment of Syringomyelia, visit OrthoTexas, Frisco. To schedule an appointment with our spine specialists, call at (214) 618 – 5502.