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May 29, 1967

Syringomyelia: Loss of Deep-Pain Sensation With Otherwise Normal Sensory Perception

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology and the Kresge Neurosurgical Research Unit, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor.

JAMA. 1967;200(9):795-797. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120220097024

SYRINGOMYELIA in the cervical region of the spinal cord usually is not difficult to diagnose. "Dissociated" sensory loss is characteristic; the term refers to loss of pain and temperature perception over the distribution of several dermatomes, with preservation of touch and other forms of sensory perception in these areas. Atrophy of muscles of the upper extremities, distal and often asymmetric, usually accompanies the syndrome. Brisk reflexes in the lower extremities are often present, but at the time the physician is consulted, subjective or objective evidence of dysfunction in the lower extremities usually is minimal.

Except for differentiation from an intramedullary tumor during early months of the disease, cervical syringomyelia is not easily confused with other lesions of the spinal cord. Occasionally, however, the typical sensory pattern of syringomyelia is not apparent, and in such cases the neurologic signs may be misleading. This report describes a case of cervical syringomyelia in