Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Myelopathy is a medical term used to describe diseases or conditions that affect the spinal canal. There are a number of different ways myelopathy can develop, and treating the problem can be complex. Today, we take a closer look at why spinal canal problems can develop, and how surgeons work to address the issues.
Types Of Myelopathy Injuries
Here’s a look at three common types of myelopathic injuries:
- Carcinomatous Myelopathy – This is caused by the degeneration of the spinal cord due to the development of cancer.
- Compressive Myelopathy – The spinal canal becomes compressed due to pressure from hematomas, tumor growth or other pressure source.
- Radiation Myelopathy – Destruction or damage of the spinal canal due to X-ray therapy.
Myelopathy can develop for a number of different reasons. Aside from developing due to cancer or benign tumors, myelopathy can also be caused by acute trauma, inadequate blood flow, immune response reactions and viral infections.
Symptoms and Treatment Options For Myelopathy
Symptoms of myelopathy vary based on its location and what’s causing it, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll focus on the symptoms of one of the most common types of myelopathy, which is cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). CSM is a type of compressive myelopathy that affects older individuals whose spines have experienced repeated trauma over the years. This gradual wear and tear leads to a narrowing of the spinal canal and compression of the spinal cord. Common symptoms of cervical spondylotic myelopathy include:
- Localized pain
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Tingling sensations
- Muscle weakness
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or you’ve been dealing with back discomfort and you want answers, head into Dr. Sinicropi’s office. He’ll conduct a physical exam and ask you about your symptoms before taking a closer look with the help of imaging techniques like an x-ray or CT scan.
If myelopathy is discovered in an area of your spine, your doctor will walk you through your care options. Some nonsurgical techniques that might help correct the problem include exercise, anti-inflammatory medications, spinal injections and assistive devices to restrict movement in the painful area.
Minnesota Myelopathy Surgeon
If conservative methods fail, or you are dealing with a more severe compression or a tumor, surgery may be your best bet. Your surgeon will walk your through your specific surgical options. Many decompressive operations can be performed on a minimally invasive basis to reduce healing time and the risk of complications. If a tumor needs to be removed, surgeons may also implant stabilization devices like screws or or plates to maintain the integrity of the spinal canal, and many of these surgeries have high success rates.