What is Myelopathy?

Myelopathy is a term used to spinal cord compression resulting from degeneration of the spine or herniated discs in the cervical (neck) or thoracic (mid-back) spine. Myelopathy is more common in people over age 50.

Cervical myelopathy is most common type of myelopathy. Cervical myelopathy occurs when multiple discs bulge or herniate. This results in compression of the spinal cord and/or pinched nerves. The spinal cord damage can result in serious, permanent injury.


Cervical myelopathy is usually age-related, typically affecting people over age 50. It may also be seen in younger patients with an abnormally small spinal canal, a large disc herniation in the cervical (neck) region of the spine, or misaligned bones in the neck.


  • Difficulty walking or feeling unsteady
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills in the hands
  • Tingling or "shock" type feelings down the torso or into the legs
  • Arm pain
  • Numbness in the arms or hands
  • Weakness in the arm or leg
  • Loss of bowel or bladder function

The orthopedic specialists at MedStar Montgomery confirm diagnoses of cervical myelopathy after a physical examination. Specialists may also use an MRI to confirm spinal cord compression, and may use X-rays, a CT scan, and nerve conduction studies to pinpoint the extent of the nerve and/or spinal cord damage.

Treatment Options

Surgery is often needed to treat cervical myelopathy and prevent further spinal cord damage. At MedStar Montgomery, our spinal surgeons can recommend the best procedure for your needs. Surgical options include:

  • Cervical Laminectomy and Fusion
  • Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)
  • Cervical Corpectomy
  • Cervical Laminoplasty

Make an Appointment

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a neurosurgery specialist, call 301-570-8554. 

Neurosurgery Specialists

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