Insertion of a syrinx shunt is a procedure performed to treat syrinx, a condition characterised by the development of fluid-filled cavities within the spinal cord, which can compress and injure the adjacent nerve fibres. The procedure involves inserting a shunt (flexible tube with a one-way valve) into the syrinx to drain away the fluid.
The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia. Your surgeon makes an incision at the level of the syrinx and cuts through bone surrounding the spinal cord. A small incision is made in the spinal cord and a shunt is introduced into the fluid filled cavity. The other end of the shunt is positioned, usually in the abdomen, to drain out the excess fluid from the syrinx. The incisions are then closed with staples or stitches.
As with any procedure, insertion of a syrinx shunt may involve certain risks and complications which include infection, bruising, pain, feeling of numbness or weakness in shunt placement, bleeding, clot formation, injury to the spinal cord or inaccurate placement of the shunt.