Cervical Myelopathy Overview  

Cervical myelopathy refers to a spectrum of conditions that refer to impaired function of the spinal cord that is usually caused by degeneration of the discs of the cervical spine alone with the facet joints. Cervical spondylotic myelopathy is the most common disorder causing dysfunction of the spinal cord in the United States. The team at Spine Physicians Institute has extensive experience in treating cervical myelopathy and is here to help at any of our office locations conveniently located to Dallas, Irving, Red Oak, Plano, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville and Duncanville.

Causes

The process that leads to compression of the spinal cord is usually a result of cervical degeneration or cervical spondylosis (arthritis). Other causes include vertebral fracture of dislocation, herniated discs, tumors, viral infections, and vascular causes.

Diagnosis

The first step in the diagnosis of cervical myelopathy is a thorough history and physical examination. Your physician will likely ask you about your symptoms and perform a thorough examination to look for subtle signs of myelopathy. At times, patients with myelopathy will present with a characteristic gait, or other physical examination cues such as weakness in their muscles, atrophy or hyperreflexia.

Diagnostic tests that are used in establishing the diagnosis are x-rays, along with magnetic resonance imaging and or computed tomography with myelography. These procedures can be scheduled with any of our spine specialists by calling any of our office locations conveniently located to Dallas, Irving, Red Oak, Plano, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville and Duncanville or by Scheduling an Appointment directly on our website.

Treatment Options

Nonsurgical options can be considered by the physician after examination of the patient and evaluation of the imaging studies if the patient presents with mild myelopathy that does not appear to be progressing. Though if a patient appears to be suffering from severe cord compression on imaging, demonstrates significant weakness either in the arms and or the legs, or has bowel or bladder incontinence, proceeding directly to surgery may be advised in order to give the patient the best chance of recovering.

Surgical Treatments

The objective of surgery is to relieve compression on the spinal cord, which can be achieved by the following procedures:

  • ACDF
  • Cervical corpectomy
  • Cervical laminectomy and fusion
  • Cervical laminoplasty