April 22, 2014 12:00 pm
Updated: April 22, 2014 12:21 pm

Why decompression surgery could help people suffering from CSM


WATCH: Why decompression surgery could help people suffering from CSM. Crystal Goomansingh reports.

Numbness, tingling, falling, and neck pain. It’s a mix of symptoms and the root cause may be a disease you’re not aware of.

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“CSM or Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy is caused by arthritis in the spine and it’s where arthritic bone spurs and degenerated discs cause pressure on the spinal cord in the neck area. And this is the most common cause of paralysis in the world, related to spinal cord problems,” says Dr. Michael Fehlings.

Until recently the most common treatment has been painkillers. Fehlings, the Krembil Chair in Neural Repair and Regeneration at the University Health Network says surgery should also be considered.

“Until recently, say the last 10 years or so, the role of surgery has been somewhat controversial with some physicians and surgeons advocating the use of surgery and others suggesting that it should only be used as a last resort,” Fehlings told Global News.

“What’s now become clear however is that the surgical techniques have evolved to the point that where neurosurgeons and orthopaedic spinal surgeons can offer surgical treatment using a variety of techniques that the surgery is safe and it’s effective.”

WATCH: Extended interview

Fehlings has published the largest studies to date on the benefits of decompression surgery in those with CSM.

Earlier this month he presented his findings at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in San Francisco.

“Gratifyingly almost all patients in the multi-study that we examined had the progression of their disease process halted, so the disease no longer progressed, and what was quite surprising to many physicians was when we presented the results 80 per cent of individuals has substantial improvement in function,” Fehlings said.


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