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Why do I have extra fluid accumulation in the spine?

Q: I am 40 years old, and had pain in my back, so I consulted a doctor who asked me to undergo MRI. My MRI report says: a well defined linear intramedullary hyperintense signal seen in T2W1 from C7 to D8-9 disk level this appears mildly hypointense in T1W1 suggestive of Syrinx/Syringohydromyelia. The vertebral bodies and their posterior neural arches apper normal in configurations and signal intensities. The proximal pairs of ribs including the costovertebral and costotransverse articulations appear normal. The intervertebral discs at all levels imaged are normal in configurations and signal intestines. There is no evidence of disc bulge/protrusion/extrusion noted. The central spinal canal maintains normal dimensions and configurations. The thecal sac including the conus medullaries appear normal in configurations, signal intensites and orientation. The subarachnoid space appears normally defined. The epidural space, including the intervertebral foraminal regions, appear to be normal. The paraspinal soft tissues are normal. T2 TRIM sagittal screening of the whole spine did not reveal any significant abnormality. The CVJ and atlanto-axial joint appear normal. No evidence of chiari-malformation/tonsillar herniation/tonsillar ectopia noted in the present study. Impression: features are suggestive of long segment small syrinx/syringohydromyelia from C7 to D8-9 discs level. Is this curable? Will it affect my life? Please suggest a proper treatment.

A:You refer to the pain in the back that provoked your doctor to request a scan. I presume no abnormality was found on clinical examination. If this be so, no treatment is required at the moment. The presence of extra fluid in the spinal cord does not appear to be causing any compression of the surrounding tissue. It is possible that this collection of fluid may remain unchanged. If so, no treatment is needed. If it increases and causes weakness in the limbs, inability to feel heat or cold over parts of the trunk and limbs or other disturbances of spinal cord function, a repeat scan and surgery may be indicated. I suggest you remain under the continued observation of your neurologist. This will enable early detection of any untoward development and appropriate treatment.

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