Spondylotic and Other Structural Myelopathies

Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2021 Feb 1;27(1):163-184. doi: 10.1212/CON.0000000000000975.


Purpose of review: This article highlights both common structural causes of myelopathy, such as spondylotic disease, and infrequent but treatable causes, such as syringomyelia, spinal cord herniation, arachnoid cyst, arachnoid band and web, epidural lipomatosis, Hirayama disease, and arachnoiditis.

Recent findings: Neuroimaging improvements and availability have uncovered many structural abnormalities in the spines and spinal cords of patients who were asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic. Recent published clinical series have improved our knowledge of the natural history of structural abnormalities and the risks of intervention versus conservative management.

Summary: Myelopathy from a suspected structural cause is a common reason for neurologic consultation. Correlation between the history, examination, and imaging are especially important to determine whether intervention is necessary or conservative management is the best option.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arachnoid Cysts*
  • Arachnoiditis*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neuroimaging
  • Syringomyelia*