Syringomyelia

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Syringomyelia is a disease characterized by the formation of longitudinal cavities in the grey matter of the spinal cord. These cavities are filled with fluid and may extend along the entire length of the spinal cord. Syringomyelia is extremely chronic and progressive, leading to paralysis. The cause is hereditary and affects adults, with the majority of the patients being males. The symptoms are limb anesthesia (the patient does not feel pain and heat), loss of muscular strength in hands, arms, and legs, and loss of dexterity of fingers, muscular atrophy, etc.

Pathological anatomy

Fluid-filled cavities can be observed in the cervical portion of spinal cord. The affected area is enlarged as the cavities either invade or compress the posterior and anterior horns. The process begins in the spinal cord central canal and theres is a proliferation of glial cells within and outside the cavities. Lining these cavities, there is a layer of ependymal cells.