In a recent study from Nature, researchers have uncovered the effects of post traumatic spinal cord tethering and syringomyelia- conditions that can cause progressive neurological loss in people with existing spinal cord injuries. The researchers studied 67 patients who underwent surgery for these conditions between 2012 and 2022. They found that age and the severity of the spinal cord injury were important factors in the development of symptomatic spinal cord tethering and syringomyelia.
Symptomatic spinal cord tethering refers to a condition where the spinal cord becomes attached or stuck to surrounding tissues, leading to neurological problems such as loss of sensation, weakness, or pain. Syringomyelia is a condition where fluid-filled cavities (called syrinxes) form within the spinal cord, causing further neurological issues like pain, weakness, and problems with coordination. Both conditions can worsen over time and may require surgical treatment to relieve symptoms and improve the patient’s condition. Surgery involves opening the protective covering around the spinal cord and making it larger with a patch. This helps to relieve pressure and improve fluid flow, reducing symptoms and enhancing the patient’s condition.
After surgical treatment, about two-thirds of the patients showed improvement in neurological issues, while half of them experienced relief from spasticity and neuropathic pain. The study emphasizes the importance of actively screening for these conditions, especially in younger patients with severe spinal trauma, as early treatment can lead to favorable outcomes and better personalized care for those with spinal cord injuries – especially as they age.
Click the link to read the entire study from Nature: Spinal Cord Tethering and Syringomyelia After Trauma: Impact of Age and Surgical Outcome