Disease pathophysiology: Syningomtelia is a rare disorder where cyst (fluid filled cavity or syrinx) is formed in the within the spinal cord, if it is left untreated then it may also elongates over time and destroys the spinal cord. Normally damage to the spinal cord leads loss of sensation in hands. Some patients may even experience paralysis either temporarily or permanently and the symptoms are headaches, a loss of the ability to feel extremes of hot or cold (especially in the hands), and loss of bladder and other functions.
Treatment: The first and the best treatment for the Syningomtelia is surgery of the spinal cord. Surgery is not always recommended but sometimes radiation and analgesia is also used. To diagnose the disease diagnostics tests usually preferred are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), MRI is the most reliable diagnostic tool for syringomyelia. In the past, a computer tomography (CT) scan or myelogram, which uses X-ray images with a constrast dye, were used to diagnose the disorder. Since the invention of the MRI, it is considered the gold standard for diagnosing syringomyelia.
Research: The precise causes of syringomyelia are still unknown although blockage to the flow of cerebrospinal fluid has been known to be an important factor since the 1970s. Scientists in the UK and America continue to explore the mechanisms that lead to the formation of syrinxes in the spinal cord. It has been demonstrated a block to the free flow of cerebrospinal fluid is a contributory factor in the pathogenesis of the disease. Duke University in America and Warwick University are conducting research to explore genetic features of syringomyelia. Statists: the incidence of post-traumatic syringomyelia (PTS), to correlate the presence of PTS with its most common signs and symptoms, and to compare results from the Swiss Paraplegic Centrewith those reported in the medical literature. METHODS--A total of 449 recent traumatic paraplegic and tetraplegic patients admitted to the Swiss Paraplegic Centre in Zurich between 1 January 1987 and 31 December 1993 were prospectively analysed.