gms | German Medical Science

60th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)
Joint Meeting with the Benelux countries and Bulgaria

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

24 - 27 May 2009, Münster

Evaluation of quality of life parameters in Syringomyelia patients

Meeting Abstract

  • F. Roser - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
  • C. Sixt - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
  • F. Riether - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
  • B. Will - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
  • M. Tatagiba - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Tübingen

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. 60. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (DGNC), Joint Meeting mit den Benelux-Ländern und Bulgarien. Münster, 24.-27.05.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. DocMO.08-09

doi: 10.3205/09dgnc052, urn:nbn:de:0183-09dgnc0529

Published: May 20, 2009

© 2009 Roser et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: Syringomyelia, the formation and expansion of a cyst or syrinx within the spinal cord, is a centromedullary syndrome accompanied by pain, numbness, and dissociative symptoms. The majority of patients undergo a steady progression and escalation of neurological symptoms. Although various forms of conservative and neurosurgical treatments exist, it remains unclear how neurosurgical intervention affects quality of life and what syringomyelia patient subgroups profit by such an intervention.

Methods: Physical and mental quality of life was assessed in 142 patients with syringomyelia via the standardized SF-36 questionnaire (physical and mental component scores [PCS/MCS]), a Syringomyelia-Disability-Index (SDI) to determine functional disability, and an individualized questionnaire to summarize clinical history.

Results: Underlying syringomyelia pathologys varied, including prevalent Chiari-Malformations, as well as spinal trauma, spinal tumors, and others. Syringomyelia patient SF-36 component scores (PCS/MCS) were significant lower compared to the general German population as well as patients suffering from other chronic diseases. Scores from surgically treated patients did not differ significantly from those treated conservatively, nor were scores dependent upon underlying syrinx pathology. Cluster analysis revealed four patient groups based on quality of life patterns, displaying characteristics of clinical presentation and history.

Conclusions: Syringomyelia is a chronic and progressive disorder. As confirmed by cluster analysis, clinical deterioration can be avoided and a high quality of life can be maintained provided that experts employing appropriate diagnostic tools intervene promptly. As the syrinx itself appears to be the source of symptoms, it is necessary to treat the pathology that preserves the syrinx cavity.