Syringomyelia is a chronic disease characterized by the presence of longitudinal cavities in the spinal cord. More often, such changes are found in the lower cervical and upper thoracic regions. Not often there is a spread of the pathological process in the medulla oblongata; not often a higher localization of changes is possible – in the lower parts of the brain. The affected part of the spinal cord is expanded; in some cases, the expansion of the spinal cord even leads to partial destruction of the bones of the spinal column. Inside the cavities is cerebrospinal fluid, similar in composition to normal.

The reasons

The disease can be congenital or acquired (due to spinal cord injury, tuberculous lesions, or as a complication of spinal anesthesia). The congenital form of the disease often runs in families and affects mainly men aged 25-40 years.


The onset of the disease is usually gradual. Sometimes the manifestation of the first symptoms is provoked by coughing, sneezing, physical activity. The earliest manifestations include weight loss, weakness of the small muscles of the hands and loss of sensitivity in it. In the future, the violation of sensitivity spreads to other parts of the body. First of all, there is a loss of pain and temperature sensitivity, so patients can inflict deep cuts and burns on themselves without pulling their hand back in time or moving away from the source of fire. At first, such injuries are ignored by patients, as household and ordinary ones, however, the pathological feature of the skin becomes apparent with the progression of the disease. Atypical forms of loss of skin sensitivity are not uncommon – in the form of “stripes”, “spots”, “collar” on the face, neck, and abdomen.

Another common symptom is spontaneous pain, which can be burning, sharp, or shooting. Unilateral pains in the face or arm can even be the first manifestations of the disease, after which a violation of sensitivity is already due.


Treatment for syringomyelia is to protect insensitive areas of the skin and treat accidental cuts and burns early. With prolonged and persistent pain, analgesics are prescribed in combination with antidepressants or antipsychotics. In some cases, surgical treatment of the spinal cord is indicated – drainage of pathological cavities, dissection of fibrous cords that compress the brain. Surgical intervention can help eliminate pain, gradually restore lost sensitivity; however, full recovery is not common.

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