Horner's syndrome is the condition which features with characteristic symptoms and signs. They include miosis, which is a constriction of a pupil, ptosis, which is a dropping of an eye lid, and enophtalmus. Additionally, patients suffer from insufficient production of facial sweat glands. Typically Horner syndrome affects one side of the face. The problem in Horner's syndrome is connected to sympathetic nervous system. The nerves which are in charge with innervations of certain structures are damaged and this consequently leads to the previously mentioned symptoms and signs of the disease. Causes of Horner's Syndrome
A variety of medical conditions can cause Horner's syndrome. A lesion of the primary neuron and a lesion of the postganglionic neuron are only two of them. Horner's syndrome also results from brainstem stroke. Tumors or syrinx of the preganglionic neuron and tumors of middle cranial fossa can be another cause of this syndrome. Even trauma to the brachial plexus may consequently result in this condition. Pancoast tumors, which are the tumors of the apex of the lungs may also affect sympathetic neurons and lead to the disease. Even infections of this region are responsible for symptoms in certain patients. Different conditions of carotid artery such as dissection or ischemia may also lead to this syndrome. And finally, in can develop in certain number of patients who are already suffering from migraines. Diagnosis of Horner's Syndrome
Setting of the diagnosis is rather easy. The doctor examines the patient and notices the characteristic triad of the symptoms. What follows next are further tests and examinations to establish the underlying cause of Horner's syndrome. A chest radiograph can point to infection or tumors localized in the apex of the lungs. CT scan of the brain can identify tumors or cerebrovacular lesions caused by a stroke. In painful Horner's syndrome MRI of the head and neck can be rather helpful in setting of the diagnosis of carotid artery dissection. MRI is more reliable than simple ultrasongraphy of the neck when it comes to dissection of carotid artery. And finally, the doctor must also rule out all the ocular causes of the eye symptoms including infections and tumors. In some cases the patient needs to undergo numerous tests and examinations until the cause of Horner's syndrome is finally found.
Treatment of Horner's Syndrome
The treatment basically depends on the actual cause of the syndrome. The goal of the treatment is re-establishment of the previously lost functions. In some cases this is possible while in others where the damage is serious the functions are lost for good.