What Are Symptoms of Myelomalacia of the Spinal Cord?

Symptoms of myelomalacia of the spinal cord are usually quite subtle but may include back pain, high blood pressure, loss of function in the extremities, loss of sensation or partial paralysis, according to Dr. Stefano Sinicropi. To confirm a diagnosis of myelomalacia, a doctor may order an MRI or a myelography. Treatment for myelomalacia must begin before the condition causes permanent nerve damage, which is irreversible. Effective treatments include injections or spinal stabilization surgery.

Myelomalacia is a condition in which the spine begins to soften due to a lack of blood flow, states Dr. Sinicropi. 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, but it can occur at any level of the spine. As the spine softens, there is increasing risk of nerve damage from bulging disks or other conditions.

Surgery for myelomalacia commonly involves a minimally invasive spinal stabilization procedure, explains Dr. Sinicropi. The procedure offers the benefits of less blood loss, less scarring, smaller incisions and quicker recovery than an open surgery. The procedure lasts approximately two to three hours, and patients are able to go home the same day or the next day.