Overview

Syringomyelia (sih-ring-go-my-E-lee-uh) is the development of a fluid-filled cyst (syrinx) within your spinal cord. Over time, the cyst may enlarge, damaging your spinal cord and causing pain, weakness and stiffness, among other symptoms.

Syringomyelia has several possible causes, though the majority of cases are associated with a condition in which brain tissue protrudes into your spinal canal (Chiari malformation).

Other causes of syringomyelia include spinal cord tumors, spinal cord injuries and damage caused by inflammation around your spinal cord.

If syringomyelia isn't causing any problems, monitoring the condition may be all that's necessary. But if you're bothered by symptoms, you may need surgery.

Nov. 15, 2016
References
  1. Batzdorf U. Syringomyelia. In: Textbook of the Cervical Spine. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 17, 2016.
  2. Heiss J, et al. Management of Chiari malformations and syringomyelia. In: Schmidek and Sweet's Operative Neurosurgical Techniques. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 17, 2016.
  3. Ferri FF. Syringomyelia. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 17, 2016.
  4. Syringomyelia fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/syringomyelia/detail_syringomyelia.htm. Accessed Oct. 17, 2016.
  5. Eisen A. Disorders affecting the spinal cord. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 17, 2016.
  6. Syringomyelia. National Organization for Rare Disorders. https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/syringomyelia/. Accessed Oct. 17, 2016.
  7. Support & resources: Find support. American Syringomyelia and Chiari Alliance Project. http://asap.org/index.php/resources/find-support/. Accessed Oct. 18, 2016.