Hydromyelia, or syringomyelia, can be classified into different types based on its underlying causes and characteristics. Here are some common types of hydromyelia:
1. Congenital Hydromyelia: This type of hydromyelia is present at birth and is often associated with a congenital abnormality called Chiari malformation. In Chiari malformation, the lower part of the brain, known as the cerebellum, extends into the spinal canal, causing obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow and the development of a syrinx within the spinal cord.
2. Acquired Hydromyelia: Acquired hydromyelia develops later in life due to various factors, such as spinal cord injury, tumors, spinal cord inflammation (e.g., meningitis), or blockage of CSF flow. These factors can disrupt the normal flow of CSF and lead to the formation of a syrinx within the spinal cord.
3. Communicating Hydromyelia: This type of hydromyelia occurs when there is an obstruction or disruption in the normal flow of CSF from the brain ventricles to the spinal cord. This obstruction can cause an accumulation of CSF within the central canal of the spinal cord, leading to the formation of a syrinx.
4. Noncommunicating Hydromyelia: Noncommunicating hydromyelia is characterized by a syrinx that is not connected to the central canal of the spinal cord or the brain ventricles. Instead, it is often associated with specific lesions or cavities within the spinal cord itself.
5. Secondary Hydromyelia: Secondary hydromyelia refers to the development of a syrinx as a result of an underlying condition or disease, such as spinal cord tumors, tethered spinal cord, or spinal cord trauma.
The symptoms of hydromyelia can vary depending on the location, size, and extent of the syrinx within the spinal cord. Here are some common symptoms associated with hydromyelia:
1. Pain or discomfort: Individuals with hydromyelia may experience pain or discomfort in the neck, shoulders, arms, or back. The pain can be dull, aching, or sharp in nature.
2. Sensory abnormalities: Hydromyelia can cause sensory changes, such as numbness, tingling, or a loss of sensation in the arms, hands, fingers, or other parts of the body.
3. Muscle weakness: Weakness in the muscles of the arms, hands, legs, or other areas may occur. This weakness can affect fine motor skills, coordination, and overall strength.
4. Coordination difficulties: Hydromyelia can disrupt communication between the brain and the muscles, leading to problems with coordination, balance, and gait.
5. Bladder and bowel dysfunction: The syrinx can put pressure on the nerves that control bladder and bowel function, resulting in urinary or fecal incontinence, urgency, or difficulty with elimination.
6. Headaches: Some individuals with hydromyelia may experience chronic headaches, particularly at the base of the skull, which can be associated with the underlying Chiari malformation.
7. Scoliosis: In some cases, hydromyelia can lead to the development of scoliosis, an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine.