When considering syringomyelia treatment options, doctors will consider the symptoms the patient is experiencing, as well as the type of syringomyelia the patient has. The usual treatment of choice is surgery. Another method of treatment involves the placement of a shunt, or tube, to redirect the flow of cerebrospinal fluid.
Syringomyelia treatment options depend on several factors, including:
- Presence and severity of symptoms
- The form of syringomyelia a patient has.
In the absence of syringomyelia symptoms, syringomyelia is usually not treated. During this period of "watchful waiting," patients are regularly monitored with an MRI and physical exam.
In addition, a physician may recommend not treating the condition in patients of advanced age or in cases where there is no progression of symptoms. Whether treated or not, many patients are told to avoid activities that involve straining.
For patients with symptoms, the syringomyelia treatment of choice is surgery.
The main goal of surgery for people with communicating syringomyelia (related to Chiari type I malformation) is to provide more space for the cerebellum at the base of the skull and upper neck without entering the brain or spinal cord. This results in a flattening or a disappearance of the primary cavity.