Myelopathy

What is a myelopathy? 

Myelopathy is any pathologic process that affects primarily the spinal cord and causes neurologic dysfunction.

Most common causes of myelopathies

The most common causes of myelopathies are as follows:

  • 1. Congenital and developmental defects:
    • • Syringomyelia
    • • Neural tube formation defects
    Bley T, Duffek CC, Schiebler ML, et al.: Presurgical localization of the artery of Adamkiewicz with time-resolved 3.0 – T MR angiography. Radiology 255(3):873-881, 2010.
  • 2. Trauma
  • 3. Compromise of the spinal cord:
    • • Cervical spondylosis
    • • Inflammatory arthritis
    • • Acute disc herniation
  • 4. Neoplasms:
    • • Primary spinal and paraspinal
  • 5. Physical agents:
    • • Decompression sickness
    • • Electrical injury
    • • Radiation
  • 6. Toxins:
    • • Nitrous oxide
    • • Triorthocresyl phosphate
  • 7. Metabolic and nutritional disorders:
    • • Vitamin B12 deficiency
    • • Copper deficiency
    • • Chronic liver disease
    • • Thiamine deficiency (beri-beri)
  • 8. Paraneoplastic myelitis
  • 9. Arachnoiditis
  • 10. Systemic autoimmune disorders:
    • • Lupus
    • • Sjӧgren’s syndrome
    • • Systemic vasculitis
  • 11. Demyelinating disease:
    • • Multiple sclerosis
    • • Neuromyelitis optica
  • 12. Epidural infections
  • 13. Primary infections:
    • • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV vacuolar myelopathy)
    • • Syphilis (tabes dorsalis)
    • • Human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV)-1,2 (tropical spastic paraparesis)
    • • Varicella zoster virus myelopathy
    • • Lyme radiculomyelitis
    • • Tuberculosis
    • • Spinal epidural abscess
  • 14. Vascular causes:
    • • Epidural hematoma
    • • Atherosclerotic, abdominal aneurysm
    • • Spinal dural arteriovenous fistula and other vascular malformations
    • • Spinal artery infarction
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