n. a disease of the spinal cord in which longitudinal cavities form within the cord, usually in the cervical (neck) region. The centrally situated cavity (syrinx) is especially likely to damage the motor nerve cells and the nerve fibres that transmit the sensations of pain and temperature. Characteristically there is weakness and wasting of the muscles in the hands with a loss of awareness of pain and temperature. An extension of the cavitation into the lower brainstem is called syringobulbia. Cerebellar ataxia, a partial loss of pain sensation in the face, and weakness of the tongue and palate may occur. Syringomyelia is associated with an Arnold-Chiari malformation and tumours of the spinal cord.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.