Dr. Kamal Thapar, MD., PhD., FRCSC., FAANS
1200 Oakleaf Way, Suite A, Altoona, WI 54720
Myelopathy is a condition that occurs when there is compression of the spinal cord; which can in turn produce weakness, difficulty walking, impaired coordination, and loss of sensation in the extremities. Without treatment, it can become quite disabling and cause paralysis
Myelopathy can occur due to osteophyte (bony growth) formation on the spine or from a disc herniation in which the intervertebral disc is pushed into the spinal canal, compressing the spinal cord. Other causes for myelopathy include primary bone tumors, metastatic disease (the spread of cancer from the original affected organ to the bones), blunt (non-penetrating) trauma, infections and inflammatory conditions.
– Difficulty with fine motor skills (unable to button a shirt or hold a glass, impaired handwriting)
– Difficulty with balance or walking which may lead to frequent falls
– Numbness or tingling
– Problems with bowel or bladder function
If signs of myelopathy are present, an MRI is needed to identify any compression present within the spinal canal.
Depending on individual symptoms, surgical intervention is often recommended due to the progressive nature of myelopathy and associated neurological deficits such as weakness or balance issues. Surgical treatment of cervical myelopathy typically involves performing an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, a posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion, or in some cases, both.