Cervical Myelopathy

Cervical Myelopathy

Cervical Myelopathy

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What is Cervical Myelopathy?  By definition, it is any functional change of the spinal cord.  Usually, it is caused by pinching of the spinal cord by bone spurs, disk herniations, or a combination.  In the above MRI,  the red circle identifies changes in the spinal cord (see the different coloration) in a man with complaints of progressive arm numbness, weakness and pain.  He had prior cervical surgery,  but the spinal stenosis continued to manifest as Cervical Myelopathy.

Common Cervical Myelopathy complaints include arm pain, and tingling, a heavy feeling to the legs,  difficulty with brisk walking, and an electrical sensation from the neck to the extremities.

As Cervical Myelopathy progresses,  it can lead to a very weak, and awkward gait,  bladder and bowel disturbances, and eventually, difficulty with coordination of the arms and legs.

While Cervical Myelopathy is usually a slow progressive process,  it can be associated with rapid deterioration of function.

If you have neck pain, with tingling or weakness to the arms or legs,  you should at least discuss the complaints with your physician.  If there is any concern for myelopathy,  usually diagnostic studies such as cervical MRI’s or CT scans will identify the problem. If the diagnostic studies identify mild spinal compression, the Cervical Myelopathy can be observed, and monitored.

On the other hand,  if you have rapid progression of your complaints, surgical intervention usually is necessary for Cervical Myelopathy.  The surgical techniques include removal of the disk or bone spurs from the front of the neck,  with anterior discectomy or corpectomy with fusion.  Sometimes,  the findings call for a posterior cervical laminectomy, or laminoplasty.  Sometimes, the bone spurs require such significant bone resection that you will require posterior fusion along with the decompression.  Sometimes,  the spinal cord compression is such, that it requires both an anterior and a posterior procedure to adequately decompress the spinal cord.  All the surgical interventions must also consider the medical condition of the patient, as a majority of patients who have myelopathy are typically older, and have other medical issues.

Cervical Myelopathy has potential to cause a significant permanent spinal cord injury, so if you have any of the above symptoms,  please discuss the situation with your physician.

Citations

  • Tetreault L, Goldstein CL, Arnold P, Harrop J, Hilibrand A, Nouri A, Fehlings MG. Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy: A Spectrum of Related Disorders Affecting the Aging Spine. Neurosurgery. 2015 Oct 1;77(suppl_1):S51-S67. PubMed PMID: 28175876

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

One of “6 Spine Physicians Ranked #1 on Google” – December 2016

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2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

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The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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