It's unclear exactly how and why syringomyelia happens. When it develops, cerebrospinal fluid — the fluid that surrounds, cushions and protects your brain and spinal cord — collects within the spinal cord itself, forming a fluid-filled cyst (syrinx).

Several conditions and diseases can lead to syringomyelia, including:

  • Chiari malformation, a condition in which brain tissue protrudes into your spinal canal
  • Meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain and spinal cord
  • Spinal cord tumor, which may interfere with the normal circulation of cerebrospinal fluid
  • Conditions present at birth, such as a tethered spinal cord, a condition caused when tissue attached to your spinal cord limits its movement
  • Spinal cord injury, which may cause symptoms months or even years after the initial injury
Mar. 25, 2014

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.