Print friendly version
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.
Syringomyelia is a disorder in which a cyst, called a syrinx, forms within the spinal cord. This cyst expands and elongates over time, destroying the center of the spinal cord which can result in pain, weakness, stiffness in the back, shoulders, arms, or legs, headaches, and insensitivity to temperature (especially in the hands). Symptoms vary from person to person. Syringomyelia is often related to a congenital abnormality of the brain called a Chiari I malformation, but may also occur as a complication of trauma, meningitis, hemorrhage, a tumor, or arachnoiditis. Symptoms may appear months or even years after the initial injury. Some cases of syringomyelia are familial, although this is rare. Treatment often involves surgery and avoiding activities that involve straining. Drainage of the cysts using a catheter, drainage tubes, and valves may be required in some patients. If not treated, the disorder can lead to progressive weakness in the arms and legs, loss of hand sensation, and chronic, severe pain.
- NINDS Syringomyelia Information Page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/syringomyelia/syringomyelia.htm. Accessed April 30, 2009.
On this page
- MedlinePlus, a Web site designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, provides more information about this topic. Click on the link to view this information.
- Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
- The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) collects and disseminates research information related to neurological disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
- The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
- Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge. Click on the link to read information on this topic.
- PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Syringomyelia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
- The The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) database contains genetics resources that discuss Syringomyelia. Click on the link to go to OMIM and review these resources.