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Diagnosis and treatment

The clinical course of myelopathy is highly variable. Some patients may have mild symptoms which do not progress whereas in others there may be clear worsening over months and years. The only treatment to prevent progression is surgery. Once the symptoms are established surgery to decompress the spinal cord produces an improvement in around one half of patients.

The condition is usually confirmed by performing an MRI scan of the cervical spine. If compression of the spinal cord is seen, then surgery may be offered. Surgery may be performed through the front or the back of the neck depending on the location of the overgrown bone. Your surgeon will explain any surgery required as well as the risks of surgery. Surgery to decompress the spinal cord is usually straightforward and most patients will be well enough to go home within 3-5 days.