By Robert S. Bray, Jr. MD, D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center
Over the course of my 30-year career from time-to-time I would see patients who would have severe upper back pain, loss of function in their legs, over active reflexes, leg spasms, and difficulty with balance and walking up and down stairs. Often they were given a diagnosis of spinal cord MS or myelopathy. While the symptoms clearly showed a problem, the diagnostic tests did not indicate any significant irregularity and therefore there was no course of corrective action to take. That is until now.
Over the past two years, with a special MRI scan, we have identified 12 people, primarily young women from 20 – 45 years of age, with these symptoms. This new condition called TEAM Disease (thoracic epidural arteriovenous malformation), is an abnormal growth of arteries and veins in the spinal column that cuts off blood supply to spinal cord. Left untreated the disease can progress to total paralysis.
The good news is this condition can be treated with a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. Using a high-powered microscope, small incisions are made in the thoracic spine and each cluster of growths are clipped and removed. Depending on the extent of the disease recovery time can vary from three to 12 months. The patients who have undergone this procedure have had at least a partial or nearly complete reversal of symptoms and no evidence of return of the disease.
While this condition is rare, the effects are real, they can be devastating and should be checked out. Now that we know what it is, we treat it. Early diagnosis is key to a full recovery. Call today for more information. 310.574.0400 or www.discmdgroup.com