How do they define a small syrinx compared to a large syrinx

Have a question about a symptom, procedure, medication, diagnosis, research, or coping? Ask questions and share what you know with others

Moderator: pmaxwell

How do they define a small syrinx compared to a large syrinx

Postby ellijaygal » Thu Jun 07, 2007 12:05 pm

I have what is shown on the MRI report as a "small syrinx" but my pain in my neck and shoulders is not so small. I also have temperature disturbances throughout my entire body but especially my arms and hands. I have so many different things going on I don't even want to list them all. I was just wondering if anyone could tell me the difference in sizes and at what point they generally do surgery to correct this? I do not have Chiari.

from Dr. Heiss

Postby razzle51 » Thu Jun 07, 2007 1:33 pm

So often SM'ers are told that a small syrinx doesn't cause pain, when is a syrinx not considered "small"? Even the NIH study has rejected people, saying their syrinx was "too small"

Patients with Chiari I can have symptoms with a large syrinx, small syrinx, or no syrinx. These patients may benefit from craniocervical decompression.

Small syrinxes are difficult to assess because they appear on MRI scans to be identical to the central spinal cord canal, a normal structure. The central spinal canal, being normal, would not cause pain and another cause of the pain would need to be considered. Small syrinxes may result from conditions such as trauma, infection, or inflammation that cause a small amount of injury to the spinal cord. The injury occurs over a short period of time. Pain originates from the injured spinal cord around the small syrinx. The injury that occurred to the spinal cord during the formation of the small syrinx cannot be reversed by surgical treatment and may be made worse by it.
I choose not to place "DIS" in my ability.

There is a light at the end of every tunnel....just pray it's not a train!.

User avatar
Posts: 3281
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 2:25 pm

I know the trauma that caused it.

Postby ellijaygal » Thu Jun 07, 2007 1:43 pm

I had spina bifida when born, it was repaired. Now in my 40's they realized that I had a tethered cord which was repaired in August of last year. All of the symptoms, hands going totally numb and white, excruciating neck and shoulder pain, even thought process disturbances started four months after the surgery. My neurologist ordered the MRI of my upper back because of the fingers going numb/cold and neck and shoulder pain. The MRI shows that there is a small syrinx with T2 signal hyperintensity centrally whatever that means.

As far as I know I do not have Chiari. I am just wondering if there is surgery to correct this or will it be like the last surgery, just more problems after the surgery is over. I am so tired of this.

Thanks for the reply.


Postby razzle51 » Thu Jun 07, 2007 2:11 pm

really only surgery for Syrinx is to put a shunt in . Otherwise you learn to live with it . It can get smaller , larger or stay the same . I had Chiari and had the chiari surgery and my syrinx got a litle smaller.
I choose not to place "DIS" in my ability.

There is a light at the end of every tunnel....just pray it's not a train!.

User avatar
Posts: 3281
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 2:25 pm


Postby ellijaygal » Thu Jun 07, 2007 2:15 pm

Thanks for the response. So I suppose my neurosurgeon will tell me on Monday how I am suppose to learn to live with while trying to work, either hurting so bad that I can't think straight, or taking a pill and can't think straight. I know I sound so bitter, but this is all a shock to me. I thought my problems were over last year after the last surgery.

Postby wildfire » Thu Jun 07, 2007 2:37 pm

I have a small syrinx and a severe amount of pain. don't know where it came from. yea I am "learning to live with it". easier said than done.
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 5:25 pm

Hi Wildfire

Postby ellijaygal » Thu Jun 07, 2007 2:42 pm

What does your neurosurgeon say about it? What size is it and what have they suggested doing, if anything?

Postby Debbieducati » Thu Jun 07, 2007 8:55 pm

Yes I was the same way, (what do you mean Dr. ?) I started with paralysis in the ER for vitrigo two years ago. It took a year to find the syrnix in me that explained all my pain from no where. I am still in the process of getting my medical records to see a spcialiasts out of state to make sure I don't have CM too. Don't give up, and get the best information you can, but try and get the proper medication so you can function while you are doing this.
Love to all

Posts: 137
Joined: Fri May 18, 2007 10:35 pm

Postby powerlineman » Thu Jun 07, 2007 9:34 pm

Mine is considered small also (C2-T1, and T10-T12) but my NS feels my pain and doesnt discount the fact I hurt. Neither does my pain doc. I'm lucky I've found both. I've been told the small syrinx doesnt cause hardly any pain before, I've also been told everyone has small syrinxes (HA!). I'm on light duty (we have no light duty at my job) so safe to say I cant work and fighting for disability. I might actually get it before I die.
Posts: 243
Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 8:22 pm

Small vs Large Syrinx

Postby Mary Alice » Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:05 am

My understanding of what my neurosurgeon meant when he said whether my syrinx was small or large was actually how wide it was. My syrinx actually goes from c-2 to just below c-4 but is very slender. My doc says this is a very good thing, and is a good sign for surgery because the chances that it will go away completely after surgery are very good. He said the longer you wait, the more chance the syrinx will enlarge (meaning get wider), and the wider syrinx does not tend to respond as well in surgery in his experience.

From my experience as an OT, I can tell you that when I have had patients that I was treating as spinal cord injury patients from an original diagnosis of syrinx, it was typically because they had a wide syrinx that was untreated for a long time (usually because they didn't know they had it).

Don't know if that helps or just makes it clear as mud! :?
Mary Alice
Mary Alice

Does anyone know?

Postby ellijaygal » Fri Jun 08, 2007 7:48 am

Mine sayd it is 1.4cm in craniocaudad dimension measuring 1mm in AP and transverse diameter. I don't know what these words mean so I don't know if that means it's longer than it is thick or what.

Thanks Keesha!

Postby ellijaygal » Fri Jun 08, 2007 8:27 am

For the explanation!!

Postby RoadGlideMama » Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:33 am

Both NS I saw said my syrinx was small, T4-T7. The 2nd NS said he was surprised because it was more forward in the spinal cord than he usually had seen. Both docs said it wasn't causing my pain. They said I have DJD and DDD. Plus I have scoliosis at the same location and a herniated disc at T7-T8. All the conditions are mild, but put them together and WHAMMY!

Just because it's small doesn't mean it's not there.

I agree

Postby ellijaygal » Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:50 am

RGM- I agree!! I have DDD; DJD; spina bifida (repaired); tethered cord (repaired); scolosis; bulging disk with bony spur; and now this syrinx! Any one by themselves may be bearable but *&^% all together I am miserable!!

Big vs Small

Postby sparks42 » Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:21 pm

My syrinx is the size of a full pencil. Is that big?

How do you get a neurosurgeon?
My doctors says my headaches probably have nothing to do with syrinx.
He just gives me pills to lower the blood pressure in my head...and I don't even have high blood pressure. And he won't give me an a CT Scan or MRI he says that's not necessary.

Is the size of a pencil big?

Should I be keeping an eye on it??? Is it dangerous?
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:17 pm
Location: London ON


Return to All About Chiari, Syringomyelia, and Related Disorders

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 28 guests