Syringomyelia - As a late complication of tuberculous meningitis

Kaynar M. Y., Kocer N., GENCOSMANOGLU B., Hanci M. M.

ACTA NEUROCHIRURGICA, vol.142, no.8, pp.935-938, 2000 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 142 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s007010070081
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.935-938
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the unusual MR features of thoracic syringomyelia following TB meningitis and to discuss the neurosurgical aspect of the treatment of this rare entity. Four years after a TB meningitis episode, a 30 year-old female patient developed a progressive spastic paraparesis. MR studies revealed multiloculated syrinxes throughout the thoracic cord. She had a syringo-subarachnoid shunt with a silastic "T" tube inserted. On the first postoperative day, she showed a dramatic neurological improvement, but unfortunately her paraparesis progressed to the preoperative level within a month despite diminished size of the syrinxes on the control MRI examination. Two and a half years after the operation the patient complained of having a burning type of central pain, and further deterioration in neurological function. Thoracic spinal MRI examination demonstrated enlarged syringomyelic cavities. At the second operation syringo-peritoneal shunt insertion was performed via right T10-11 hemilaminectomy using a "T" tube. At present, 4 months after the second operation, the patient's neurological examination demonstrated decreased spasticity, and improved strength in the legs compared to the preoperative level. MRI is the first choice of investigation in detecting TB related myelopathy as it provides a greater detail of pathological changes within and around the spinal cord such as syrinx formation and arachnoiditis. The MR findings are also helpful in deciding the management and predicting the outcome. Presence of multifocal loculations and arachnoid adhesions is the likely cause of treatment failures and poor prognosis.