What Are Some Treatment Options for Myelomalacia?

Treatment options for myelomalacia include injections to reduce swelling around the spine or undergoing a minimally invasive surgery to stabilize the spine and prevent damage to the spinal nerves, according to Dr. Stefano Sinicropi. Treatment must take place before the condition causes permanent nerve damage. There is no treatment available that can restore spinal nerve function.

Patients undergoing minimally invasive back stabilization surgery usually receive it as an outpatient procedure, says the Laser Spine Institute. During a typical procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision to access the spine and completely removes the disk or bone material responsible for the constriction or softening of the spinal cord. In its place, the surgeon inserts an implant, a bone graft and the patient’s own stem cells. The first four to six weeks following the surgery are crucial for rehabilitation, and the patient must follow instructions from the doctor or physical therapist very carefully to recover fully.

Myelomalacia is a condition in which the spine begins to soften, putting the spinal nerves at risk of damage, explains Dr. Sinicropi. Myelomalacia typically occurs due to lack of blood flow to the spine as a result of an injury or long-term degenerative changes. It can occur at any level of the spine but is most common in the neck and lower back. Symptoms are usually subtle but may include back pain, loss of sensation, loss of function in the extremities, hypertension and partial paralysis.