Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 30 Jun 2021

Syringobulbia is a rare entity and refers to a syrinx that extends into the medulla oblongata 1.

Some authors use syringobulbia to refer to a syrinx present in any portion of the brainstem rather than specifically involving the medulla oblongata, and therefore encompassing syringopontia and syringomesencephaly as well. This article considers the nuances in these definitions and discusses extension of the syrinx only into the medulla oblongata.

Patients with this condition demonstrate a wide variety of bulbar neurological symptoms as well as symptoms relating to syringomyelia, depending on where exactly the syrinx is located 1.

When present, it is seen in continuity with a long syrinx that demonstrates syringomyelia 1,2. It is pathologically identical to syringomyelia, as simply an extension of the collection of cerebrospinal fluid within the cord with dissection through the ependymal lining of the central canal of the spinal cord.

There are numerous causes and associations, and these are discussed in more depth in the general article on syrinx

Syringobulbia has the same radiographic characteristics on all imaging modalities as any other syrinx 1. See syrinx for an in-depth discussion of these characteristics.

When symptomatic, neurosurgical intervention may be required 1.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: with hemangioblastoma T1
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  • Case 1: with hemangioblastoma T1C+
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