Cervical Myelopathy

Cervical myelopathy is a condition which occurs due to compression of the spinal cord in the neck. The most common cause of this is a disc prolapse of a significant degree. This results in compression and injury to the spinal cord.

Cervical Myelopathy Symptoms

A patient usually experiences the following symptoms:

  • neck pain
  • arm pain
  • progressive stiffness in the arms or legs
  • difficulty walking
  • numbness and tingling
  • bowel or bladder symptoms

Usually the symptoms come on gradually. At times, symptoms can suddenly appear especially if a patient has previous conditions. These include pre-existing cervical canal narrowing, disc prolapse or if the patient falls or injures their neck.

It is a condition that needs urgent evaluation and treatment. This is due to the potential of causing worsening and permanent cervical cord damage. Patients who have had this condition for a long period of time might also have a very spastic gait and associated muscle loss.

Cervical Myelopathy Diagnosis

The investigative tests in this condition include x-rays, CT scans and MRI scans.

Cervical Myelopathy Treatment

The recommended treatment for this condition is surgical. The options for surgery are guided by the extent of spinal cord compression.  The deposition of bony material in the disk is another consideration factor.

The usual operative approaches are a cervical discectomy and fusion. When the area of compression is over a longer segment, there might be a need to remove vertebral segments. This procedure is called a vertebrectomy.

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