What is Myelopathy?
Myelopathy is a term used to refer to the pathology of a spinal cord that occurs as a result of trauma. In simple terms, Myelopathy is an injury of the spinal cord. In the event that the injury gets an inflammation, it is referred to as myelitis. When the nature of the ailment is vascular, it is referred to as vascular myelopathy. The clinical symptoms and signs of myelopathy depend on the spinal cord area that it affects such as thoracic, cervical or lumbar, as well as the extent of the pathology for instance posterior, anterior or lateral. For of the clinical signs include sensory deficits, sexual dysfunction, bladder or bowel symptoms, inverted plantar and pathological hyperreflexia and signs in the upper motor neuron that are characterized by spasticity, altered tonus, clumsiness and weakness.
Evaluation of Myelopathy Severity
Evaluation of severity and presence of myelopathy may be done through Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. This is a neurophysiological approach that makes it possible to measure the time that a neural impulse requires to go across pyramidal tracts from the cerebral cortex to horn cells at the lumbar, thoracic and cervical spinal cord. This measurement is referred to as Central Conduction Time. A Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation evaluation helps physicians to know whether indeed a myelopathy condition exists and determine where the myelopathy occurs on the spinal cord. This evaluation can also help physicians to tell the severity of a myelopathy condition. This is important particularly in situations where there two or more lesions responsible for clinical signs and symptoms as it is the case with patients that have more than two cervical disc hernias. Such patients require follow-up to see how myelopathy progresses over time including prior to cervical spine operation and after. The Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation evaluation also helps in undertaking differential diagnosis of varied causes of damage in the pyramidal tract.