Syringomyelia is a disorder in which a fluid-filled cavity (= syrinx) forms within the spinal cord (= myelon). It's not a cavity due to a cyst, tumor or bleeding, but it's a rare condition of with an unknown cause. It usually onsets in the spinal cord in the neck, but can progress further down. The majority of cases of syringomyelia are associated with a complex brain abnormality known as a Chiari malformation.


Symptoms of syringomyelia are caused by increased pressure on the spinal cord and pinched nerves. This may cause the following symptoms:

  • Pain in arms and/or legs
  • Sensory problems in arms, legs and/or parts of the torso
  • Weakness in arms and/or legs
  • Coordination problems


Depending on the severity of the complaints it is possible to operate a syringomyelia, but it's a complicated procedure and not always successful. It's important to make a wel-considered decision if surgery is the preferred treatment. 

Within UNCH Haaglanden Medical Center, HagaZiekenhuis and LUMC can be considered for diagnosing and treating syringomyelia. More information about the condition can be found on the NVvN website.