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August 1984

Spinal Segmental Myoclonus: Successful Treatment With Cervical Spinal Decompression

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry (Dr Daniel) and Neurology (Dr Webster), Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn. Dr Webster is now with Group Health Plan of Minneapolis.

Arch Neurol. 1984;41(8):898-899. doi:10.1001/archneur.1984.04050190108026

Spinal segmental myoclonus (SSM) is characterized by involuntary, semirhythmic contractions of skeletal muscle groups innervated by a limited spinal cord region.1-10 It is usually not affected by sensory stimuli but rather is increased by fatigue and emotional stress and usually ceases with sleep.3,8,11 Patients with SSM do not have a generalized neurological disorder, and there are no associated EEG changes.1,2,8,11 The primary abnormality is in the spinal cord,3-8,11-13 and multiple etiologic factors have been implicated: infection,3,6,9,11,12 intramedullary and extramedullary tumors,1,4,7-9,14 trauma,4 osteoarthritic lesions,11 arteriovenous malformation,10 meningomyelocele,15 and degenerative motor system disease.11,13 Previously reported treatment has largely consisted of pharmacotherapy.8,11 We describe a patient with SSM due to cervical spondylosis cured by surgical decompression of the spinal cord. To our knowledge, this communication is the first to report successful surgical therapy for SSM.


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