What is myelopathy?

Myelopathy is a condition that refers to a disorder of the spinal cord or spinal nerves. Often caused by compression or irritation, this condition can occur after trauma, natural degeneration of the spine or another type of spinal deformity. Ranging in grade, severity and level, myelopathy is commonly caused by conditions such as spinal stenosis. As the spinal canal becomes narrowed (spinal stenosis), the spinal cord and surrounding nerves often become compressed. This leads to a number of chronic symptoms that can greatly reduce your quality of life, including:

  • Shooting pain and weakness
  • Radiating numbness into the hands and arms
  • Tingling in the hand and arms
  • Inability to walk or stand for long periods of time
  • Local pain and weakness
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

Suffering from chronic pain and symptoms caused by myelopathy can prevent you from doing your hobbies or daily tasks. The first step to finding pain relief and recapturing a more active life is to reach out to your physician for a diagnosis. Once your condition is officially diagnosed as myelopathy, you and your doctor can work together to create a treatment plan that best fits your needs. Read on to learn more about the treatment options available for myelopathy, including traditional open neck or back surgery as well as minimally invasive spine surgery.

Highly invasive myelopathy surgery

If conservative measures for myelopathy such as anti-inflammatories, pain medications, muscle relaxants, chiropractic care and steroid injections do not succeed, surgical intervention may become necessary. Traditionally, the only solution for patients suffering from myelopathy was to undergo a highly invasive open neck or back procedure in a hospital setting.

Accompanied by a large incision, long recovery time and invasive techniques, these procedures have an increased complication rate of 16.4 percent and an infection rate of up to 19 percent after surgery.^ However, patients now have access to a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open fusion surgery — the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

Minimally invasive myelopathy surgery

Performed through a small incision, our expert surgeons are able to use our stabilization procedures to help treat myelopathy. Instead of cutting through the muscles surrounding the spine, our procedure focuses on moving the muscles aside to avoid disruption. This careful technique helps to reduce the recovery time and risk of complication compared to traditional open neck or back surgery.^ If you are interested in learning more about our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute.

Since 2005, our board-certified surgeons+ have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain, setting us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. To find out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient procedures, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a no-cost MRI review.*