Dr. Payam Toobian participated in research to pioneer new treatments for spinal syringomyelia. He is widely regarded as an expert in the field and recently discussed what the condition is and how to treat it.
What Is Syringomyelia?
When a person has spinal syringomyelia, a fluid-filled cyst, known as a syrinx, forms inside the spinal cord. This cyst can grow larger and longer over time, causing damage to the spinal cord. It can injure nerve fibers that carry information from the brain to other body parts and vice versa.
Is Syringomyelia Common?
Spinal syringomyelia is rare but life-changing for those who develop it. It affects roughly eight in 100,000 people. Unfortunately, syringomyelia makes up 5 percent of paraplegia instances. It is most common among individuals between 20 and 50, but it can develop in children and the elderly.
Symptoms of Spinal Syringomyelia
According to Payam Toobian, the symptoms of syringomyelia tend to develop slowly over several years. Individuals may not notice symptoms at first, but then they may develop headaches, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, numbness, balance issues, and loss of bladder or bowel control. The symptoms can occur on either or both sides of the body and range from mild to severe.
A qualified doctor may suspect syringomyelia when viewing one or more of the above symptoms. They may perform an MRI, a dynamic MRI, or a myelogram with a CT scan to determine if a syrinx in the spine is present.
Dr. Toobian is one of the foremost experts in treating spinal syringomyelia. His research resulted in new, effective methods of treating the disease.
Some of the most common ways to treat syringomyelia include treating the underlying cause of the cyst, managing symptoms, or preventing further growth.
A qualified neurosurgeon will often suggest surgery for a cyst growing and causing more severe symptoms. The two most common types of surgery for syringomyelia include Chiari malformation surgery and expansive duraplasty.
Chiari malformation surgery is a procedure to provide more space at the upper neck and base of the skull. This surgery reduces pressure on the brain and spinal cord to restore or continue the normal flow of nerve information.
Expansive duraplasty is a surgery involving the removal of scar tissue surrounding the spinal cord. It may also include adding a patch to make the membrane surrounding the spinal cord larger.
Other surgical treatment methods may include the surgical removal of scar tissue, tumors, or bone to restore nerve function. A neurosurgeon may also drain the syrinx to reduce its size.
Payam Toobian and Spinal Syringomyelia
Dr. Toobian is a physician neurosurgeon specializing in research and treatment for spinal syringomyelia. His studies transform the lives of individuals battling syringomyelia as well as those who may face the disease in the future.