Post-traumatic syringomyelia

Department of Surgery, Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences, Sawangi (Meghe), Wardha, India.
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics (Impact Factor: 0.64). 10/2007; 41(4):398-400. DOI: 10.4103/0019-5413.37006
Source: PubMed


Progressive post-traumatic cystic syringomyelia is an uncommon and increasingly recognized cause of morbidity following spinal cord injury. We hereby report a 35-year-old gentleman who sustained wedge compression fracture of L-1 vertebral body 15 years back and had complete paraplegia with bowel/bladder involvement. The neurological deficit recovered with minimal residual motor deficits and erectile dysfunction. He presented now with increasing neurological deficits associated with pain and paresthesia. The MRI spine showed a syrinx extending from the site of injury up to the medulla. He underwent a syringo-peritoneal shunt and at followup his pain and motor functions had improved but erectile dysfunction was persisting.

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Available from: Amit Agrawal, Apr 15, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: The incidence of post-traumatic syringomyelia (PTS) is estimated according to recent studies at 25 to 30% of patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which remains the gold standard exam for syringomyelia diagnosis and monitoring. Syringomyelia is translated by an increased cord signal (similar to CSF) with low-density T1-weighted image and high-density T2-weighted image, which extends beyond site of initial lesion at least to two vertebral segments. Two conditions are required for development of PTS: traumatic spinal cord injury and blocked the flow of CSF epidural. The mean interval from spinal cord injury to diagnosis SPT was 2.8 years (range, 3 months to 34 years). The commonest symptoms are pain and sensory loss. PTS should be suspected if the patient has new neurological symptoms above level of injury, such as dissociated sensory injuries, reflexes abolition, and motor deficit, after the neural function becomes stable for certain time. In urologic practice, new neurological symptoms could be bladder and/or erectile dysfunction. The medical management based on prevention efforts with closed-glottis pushing, which could aggravate the syrinx cavity. In urology, extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy, and laparoscopic or robotic surgery could extend the syrinx cavity for the same reason (increase abdominal pressure). The indications for surgical intervention and optimal surgical treatment technique for patients with PTS are not consensual. The literature demonstrated that surgery PTS is effective at arresting or improving motor deterioration, but not sensory dysfunction or pain syndromes.
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