Post-traumatic syringomyelia was previously thought to be an infrequent but serious sequel to spinal cord injury. Clinical and CT studies have shown an incidence of between 1% and 5%, but more recently MRI has suggested an incidence of up to 22%. Twenty spinal cords have been examined after death from two days to 43 years after injury. Four had syrinxes, 20% of the series, approaching the incidence found by MRI. The acute and chronic pathological changes after trauma are described. Post-traumatic syringomyelia seems to develop from cores of necrotic tissue (myelomalacic cores) rather than lysis of haematoma. The mechanism of extension of syrinxes remains unexplained.
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