Cervical stenosis with myelopathy
Cervical stenosis, or cervical myelopathy, is the most frequent cause of functional medullar issues in patients above 55 years old1. This condition is caused by a reduction in the diameter of the spinal canal at the cervical level. It is the abnormal augmentation of structural elements of the spine that cause this compression of the spinal canal. It can be constitutional, from birth, or degenerative, evolving with age.
Depending on how important the reduction of the spinal canal is, patients do not necessarily show symptoms. In these cases, it is simply needed to follow the progress of the condition. Many patients will never develop more serious symptoms.
However, when the reduction of the spinal canal progresses, patients start experiencing walking and equilibrium problems. They can then develop further sensory and motor deficiencies. In case of such functional troubles, surgery needs to be considered in order to decompress the spinal canal. Two techniques are recommended :
The anterior approach, or anterior cervical arthrodesis
The posterior approach, or laminectomy
The appropriate approach will be advised by your back pain specialist, in particular depending on how important the compression of the canal is.
1. Furlan, Julio C., Sukhvinder Kalsi-Ryan, Ahilan Kailaya-Vasan, Eric M. Massicotte, and Michael G. Fehlings. “Functional and Clinical Outcomes following Surgical Treatment in Patients with Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy: A Prospective Study of 81 Cases.” Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine 14.3 (2011): 348-55. Web.