This refers to an abnormal fluid-filled space (a syrinx) found within the spinal cord. It generally occurs in the cervical region or thoracic region of the spinal cord and is found in two thirds children with myelomeningocele. A syrinx often has no symptoms and is usually only detected if your child has an MRI. A new syrinx or enlarging syrinx can develop (usually in conjunction with hydrocephalus, shunt malfunction or worsening brainstem compression.
Symptoms of worsening syringomyelia can include:
• Muscle weakness or stiffness in the upper limbs, trunk or lower limbs. You may notice a change in your baby’s play skills.
• Sensory disturbances
• Rapidly progressing scoliosis
• Changing bladder function
If you notice any of these symptoms, please consult your doctor. If a syrinx is present the doctor will first ensure that your child’s hydrocephalus is adequately controlled. If your child has no symptoms from the syrinx, no treatment may be recommended.