What is Syringomyelia?
Syringomyelia is a condition where a cyst forms in the spinal cord. This is called a syrinx.
The most common cause of Syringomyelia is Chiari Malformation. However, there are other causes not limited to spinal cord damage, or they may be of unknown (idiopathic) origin.
Diagnosis requires medical imaging. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the best way to diagnose Chiari. A full spine MRI is always required to ensure the entire spine is checked.
Symptoms can take a while to develop. They can vary a lot depending on where you syrinx is located in your spine.
If your symptoms can not be managed or it is deemed you need intervention surgery is the course which is taken. Depending on the origin will dictate which course is taken. Some may require shunts to divert the fluid in the syrinx.
So you are worried you have Syringomyelia you need a FULL SPINE MRI. This is the gold-standard for diagnosis. Your GP or specialists doctor can write you a referral for this test. Syringomyelia will show up in these images, a full spine MRI is needed as Syringomyelia can occur anywhere along the spine. The presence of a syrinx in the MRI should be reported by the radiologist. If you are worried something has been missed get a second opinion from a neurologist/neurosurgeon. Your GP can refer you to these specialists. For more information on Syringomyelia check the sections below.