Could spinal canal compression be a cause of polyneuropathy?

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Richard Bostelmann
Samis Zella
Hans Jakob Steiger
Athanasios K. Petridis *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Athanasios K. Petridis |


Causality between spinal cord compression and polyneuropathy is difficult to define, especially under the circumstances that polyneuropathy can have many causes. Seven patients with spinal cord compression and electrophysiological signs of polyneuropathy were treated surgically on decompression of their spinal canal stenosis in the time from April 2010 to January 2013. Median follow up time was 9 months (2-23 months). Causes of polyneuropathy were: 1 patient with methotrexate-induced polyneuropathy, 1 endocrine-dysfunction-induced, 2 with diabetic- polyneuropathy, and 3 patients had unknown reasons. The localization of the spinal canal stenosis was also varying: 2 patients suffered of cervical spinal canal stenosis and 5 of lumbar. Decompressive surgery led to pain relieve in all patients initially. Surprisingly, also symptoms of polyneuropathy seemed to regress in all 7 patients for the first 5 months after surgery, and in 5 patients for the time of 9 months after surgery. There are two points we would like to emphasize in this short report. Since 5/7 patients with polyneuropathy and spinal canal stenosis improved clinically after surgery, surgery has a place in the treatment of such a combined pathology. Since it seems to be a possible causality between polyneuropathy of unknown origin and spinal cord stenosis, decompression of the spinal canal could also be a therapeutic step in a specific kind of polyneuropathy. Which patients could possibly have a spinal canal stenosis induced polyneuropathy remains a subject of further studies.

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