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Multiple sclerosis surgery

Basic Info

Multiple sclerosis known as MS is a nervous system condition where the brain and spinal cord are affected.

When myelin, that has a protective role for the nerve cells, is destroyed by multiple sclerosis (demyelination) result is interrupted communication between spinal cord and the brain. There isn’t any cure for this disorder though it can be relieved to some degree. Fatal outcome is rare.

MS differently affects people. Sometimes they experience mild symptoms or they can be seriously incapacitated. In most cases patients will be somewhere in between. Multiple sclerosis can demonstrate in several forms in general: 1) relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis where symptoms come back and forth, 2) Progressive relapsing- symptoms appear and then go away but cause bigger damage every time, 3) Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis at first behave as relapsing-remitting but in time becomes progressive, 4)Primary progressive which is from the beginning progressive.

Causes and Symptoms

Causes for multiple sclerosis are not identified. Some experts think it might occur due to genetic connection. It is also considered to be autoimmune disease since in patients with MS immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord. Thirdly, bigger incidence of multiple sclerosis is in the regions with colder climate farther from equator. Sometimes it can occur due to infections.

Depending on degree of spinal cord and the brain damage symptoms can include:

  •      Muscle problems - problems with walking, holding objects in hands, feeling of weakness.
  •      Balance and coordination difficulties – dizziness.
  •      Visual problems – blurred or double vision, pain in eyeballs, blindness.
  •      Sensory problems – tingling, numbness.
  •      Depression and unstable mood.
Tremor, uncontrollable urination, difficulties with swallowing and clear thinking are typical for advanced multiple sclerosis.

MS reacts to heat, like high body temperature or hot baths when symptoms can worsen.

Multiple sclerosis is hard to diagnose because this condition shares symptoms and signs with other disorders.

Surgery

Surgical procedure can be helpful in cases of severe tremor or spasticity where medications can’t be taken orally due to muscle stiffness.

Tremor can be alleviated by deep brain stimulation. This involves implanting device that stimulates specific part of the brain.

In case of spasticity, surgeon puts in catheter or pump in lower spinal area that consequently allows flow of drugs.

Apart from surgery, medications that are usually used to treat multiple sclerosis are corticosteroids (oral and intravenous), interferons (side effect is liver damage), glatiramer (blocks immune system), mitoxantrone (imunnosuppressant) and natalizumab (last option due to its side effects).

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