Spinal Syrinx

Spinal syrinx is a fluid-filled cyst inside the spinal cord. Other names for spinal syrinx are syringomyelia, hydromyelia and Morvan disease. This type of cyst can expand during adolescence or the young adult years, damaging or destroying part of the spinal cord.


Symptoms depend on the size of the cyst, its location and growth.

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Loss of ability to tell heat from cold
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Nonsurgical treatment

If your spinal syrinx isn’t causing symptoms, your doctor may recommend monitoring as the best option. Your doctor may recommend X-rays or MRI scans to see if the cyst is growing.  

Surgical treatment

The OHSU Spine Center favors the least-invasive options whenever possible. If your spinal syrinx is causing severe pain or nerve or spinal cord damage, your doctor might recommend surgery to remove it.