Cervical Myelopathy

by Dr. David Bomback

If you have been told you have myelopathy, your surgeon may have instructed you to undergo surgery on a more urgent basis; that advice is often quite reasonable. However, a second opinion can be wise, as the approach of the surgery and technique used can differ from surgeon to surgeon.

 

Myelopathy refers to symptoms of spinal cord compression.  Cervical myelopathy implies that the spinal cord at the level of your neck (or cervical spine) is compressed.  The cause of this is usually herniated disc material versus bone spurs versus thick ligaments or some combination of all three.

bone spurs

Patients can begin to develop findings consistent with spinal cord compression such as gait abnormalities, weakness in the arms or legs, loss of dexterity or fine motor skills in their hands, and potentially bowel and bladder dysfunction.  These symptoms can be consistent with cervical myelopathy and often warrant surgical intervention.  Patients also might have increased reflexes on their physical exam and potentially atrophy of the muscles of the upper extremity.  If you have been told you have myelopathy, your surgeon may have instructed you to undergo surgery on a more urgent basis; that advice is often quite reasonable.  However, a second opinion can be wise, as the approach of the surgery and technique used can differ from surgeon to surgeon.

Dr. David Bomback

About Dr. David Bomback

Dr. Bomback has excelled throughout his entire academic career. After graduating high school as salutatorian, he then graduated cum laude from Columbia College, Columbia University where he was named one of only five Rabi Scholars (for mathematics and science) in his class. He then earned his medical degree at Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons,... Read More »