Syrinx question

12 years ago I had decompression surgery for chiari with syrinx. I suffer from permanent damage. Lately my symptoms have gotten worse. The neurologist ordered an MRI on my brain and spine. The MRI showed that I have 2 syrinx and referred back to neuro surgery. Has anyone else gone thru this? Does this mean that the decompression surgery failed and I will have to go thru the same surgery again?

Hey Shirley,
From many reports it seems a returning syrinx, post surgery is not uncommon, in fact, some report a 10-40% reoccurrence rate.

No, not necessarily. If the decompression had failed completely, the CSF (Cerebral Spinal Fluid) pressure would have increased rather quickly. We produce around 600ml of CSF/day, if you consider the size of our skull, plus the brain matter inside, that doesn’t leave much room for CSF. If the decompression had failed you’d have been symptomatic fairly quickly, like within a 24hr period. I had a CSF issue and the drainage was completely cut off. Within 4hrs the headache was HUGE, within 6hrs I was violently vomiting and within 8hrs I was back on the operating table.

This is really a discussion that would need to occur with your surgeon. Some dr’s may say ‘Yes’ but then some may suggest a different approach. I say ‘a discussion with your surgeon…’ because there can be a few variables depending on size, location/length and symptoms. Fortunately for some, they can have a comparatively large tonsil but have minimal symptoms and yet for others, who may present with minimal tonsil, their symptoms can be major.

If the issue is solely CSF pressure related then there maybe another option such as a shunt to drain the fluid from the skull, but again this is something only a neurosurgeon can advise you on, taking all of your medical history into consideration.

Best of luck with it all and please let us know how it all goes.
Merl from the Modsupport Team