What Is Myelomalacia?

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Q:
What is myelomalacia?

A:
Myelomalacia, refers to the softening of the spinal cord, is a condition in which the spine begins to soften due to a lack of blood flow. It typically occurs due to age-related degeneration of the spine or after an acute injury, such as a car accident or sports injury.

Myelomalacia is most common in the neck and low back regions though it can occur at any parts of the spine. Once the myelomalacia has occurred, following things may happen:

  • Hemorrhaging within the spinal cord may cause compression, which damages the spinal cord even further.
  • Consequence of myelomalacia is improper circulation of blood to the area damaged, resulting in further damage to the spinal cord.

Symptoms

Depending on the extent of the spinal cord injury, the symptoms may vary. In some cases, the symptoms may be as common as hypertension, including:

  • loss of motor functions in the extremities
  • areflexia or sudden jerks of the limbs
  • loss of pain perception
  • paralysis

Though every case is different, these are possible indicators of a damaged and softened spinal cord. Severer cases are reported.

In the severest cases, paralysis of the respiratory system leads to death.

Treatments

There is no known treatment to reverse nerve damage due to myelomalacia.

Treatments for myelomalacia may include:

  • injections to reduce swelling around the spine;
  • undergoing a minimally invasive surgery to stabilize the spine and prevent damage to the spinal nerves.

Treatments must take place before the condition causes permanent nerve damage.

Please consult your doctors for more details about your symptoms.

Keywords: myelomalacia; spinal cord; minimally invasive surgery.

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