Dr. Sean McCance, a NYC best in class back & neck surgeon (board certified orthopedic spine surgeon), is a specialist at diagnosing and surgically correcting cervical myelopathy. Cervical myelopathy, a spinal medical condition, occurs when there is severe pressure placed on the spinal cord due to disc herniation or spinal stenosis. Cervical myelopathy (spinal cord compression) is degeneration or damage to the part of the spinal cord that is in the neck. This painful neck condition is caused by compression of the spinal cord in the neck, which leads to neurological symptoms affecting (both or either) the arms or legs. The cervical spine begins at the base of the skull, and extends to the first seven vertebrae. When there is a cervical (neck) compression there can be a block of the signals between the brain and the body, which can result in physical symptoms of weakness, imbalance, loss of hand coordination, numbness, and other painful symptoms.

“I had cervical fusion surgery over 2 years ago with Dr. Sean McCance. I had seen several other doctors in NYC including a pain management specialist and a neurosurgeon. Dr McCance was the only one who asked about my quality of life and who talked to me about how I could get back to the active lifestyle I used to love. I truly believe he wanted to help me get my life back. His calm manner and confidence in the recommendation for neck surgery made my decision easy. I can do anything I want to do now and have not had any trouble at all with my neck. I also greatly appreciate how his office worked with our insurance company! ~ RateMds

Causes of Cervical Myelopathy (Spinal Cord Compression)

  • A narrow spinal canal
  • Slipped or herniated disk
  • Degeneration of cervical disks
  • Bone spurs
  • Instability or mal-alignment of neck vertebrae
  • Dislocation or fracture of the neck
  • Tumors inside the spinal canal
  • Traumatic injury to cervical spine or whiplash

Risk Factors for Cervical Myelopathy 

  • Herniated disc
  • Born with a narrow spinal canal
  • Predisposition to degenerative disk disease
  • History of neck trauma or neck fracture
  • Autoimmune disorders (such as, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, vascular diseases)
  • Ischemia (restriction of blood supply)
  • Spine infection
  • Spine tumor

Symptoms of Cervical Myelopathy 

  • Loss of fine motor control of hands (buttoning a shirt, handwriting, picking change out of your pocket)
  • Loss of balance
  • Weakness in your arms or legs
  • Tingling or numbness in arms and legs
  • Pain in neck, shoulder and arms
  • Trouble walking or balancing
  • Problems flexing or extending neck— shooting electrical sensation when flexing neck
  • Spastic movements
  • Loss of normal bladder or bowel control (such as urgency or trouble with sensation)

Medical Diagnosis of Cervical Myelopathy 

  • The NYC spine surgery specialist will ask about your symptoms and review you medical history
  • A physical exam will be performed focusing on muscle weakness, balance and coordination
  • A detailed neurologic exam will take place
  • The best in class cervical myelopathy doctor will examine your neck, back, hips, arms and legs and test for strength, flexibility, sensation, and reflexes
  • Additional medical imaging tests may be ordered by the doctor  including Xrays, CAT (CT Scan), MRI Scan, bone scan, EMG, blood tests, etc  – this will vary from case to case

Possible Treatment Options

The primary treatment for cervical myelopathy is surgery, to prevent progression of neurological disease and possible paralysis. In addition, other treatments may involve:

  • Using therapy to restore physical functions, if they have been lost
  • Using medications or therapy to reduce or manage pain
  • Doing strengthening exercises
  • Teaching you ways to reduce injuries
  • Helping you learn ways to cope with the condition, if permanent deficits have occurred
  • Treating the underlying cause of the myelopathy if it is due to a systemic disease

Surgery for Cervical Myelopathy Correction

If there is significant structural pressure on the spinal cord, you will need surgery, to avoid permanent or progressive neurological injury. There are several different surgical procedures available, depending on the specific issues of your case.

  • Anterior Cervical (Neck) Discectomy & Fusion (ACDF) a procedure performed from the front of the neck to take pressure off the spinal cord and stabilize the vertebra
  • Removal of a vertebrae, if there is severe bone compression or mal-alignment causing spinal cord compression
  • Laminectomy –  a surgical procedure performed by the best in class NYC spine & neck surgeon, Dr. Sean McCance- that essentially open the spinal canal to make room for the spinal cord.
  • Laminectomy with fusion, also done from the back of the neck, to open up the spinal canal and in addition, to stabilize the vertebrae and re-align them if needed. Screws and rods are placed, along with bone graft material, to achieve optimal healing of the fusion.

When Should YOu Contact The NYC Cervical Myelopathy Specialist, Dr. Sean McCance

Cervical myelopathy is a surgical condition. If you have been diagnosed with cervical myelopathy, or you suffer from the symptoms listed below please considered making a doctor’s appointment:

  • Progressive neurological dysfunction
  • Imbalance
  • Weakness of arms or legs, trouble using the hands
  • Numbness in arms or legs
  • Decreased mobility
  • Decrease in bowel or bladder control

Our best in class, Upper East Side, NYC back & neck pain diagnosis & surgery practice, Spine Associates, is honored to provide you with highly personalized and comprehensive care. Our philosophy of direct management of your case by an expert spine surgeon has made us one of the most trusted and respected spine surgery practices on the Upper East Side in NYC and the world. Feel free to contact the back & neck pain diagnosis and spine surgery specialist today to discuss your unique cervical myeopathy condition and start yourself on the road to recovery.

Dr. Sean McCance
1155 Park Avenue, Suite E
New York, NY 10128
(212) 360-6500