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Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Cervical Myelopathy Program

Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin provide comprehensive surgical, post-surgical, and rehabilitation care to individuals with degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM). Patients seeking evaluation for DCM are encouraged to speak with their physician to determine the most appropriate course of action.
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The Center for Cervical Myelopathy

Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin have developed a unique cervical myelopathy rehabilitation pathway that utilizes individualized therapy targeting common symptoms of degenerative cervical myelopathy to aid in the recovery of pre-surgical deficits after surgery.

Learn more about the Center for Cervical Myelopathy
Physician and patient hands desk discussion

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of DCM is made by your physician after talking to you and performing a physical examination. Although the early symptoms may be subtle, a physical examination can pick up signs of spinal cord dysfunction. Often, your physician will obtain an MRI of your neck to confirm the diagnosis. Though early symptoms are sometimes challenging to identify, physicians experienced with DCM diagnosis are aware of the diverse symptoms that can present in patients with DCM.
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Common Symptoms

Common symptoms present in any number of order and severity. However, not all symptoms may be present, and there is not a standard set of symptoms that all patients experience. You may experience some or all of these symptoms at different time points. Common symptoms include:

  • Neck pain/stiffness
  • Loss of manual/hand dexterity
  • Alterations in gait or gait impairment
  • Imbalance/unsteadiness/falls
  • Paraesthesia (tingling or pins and needles sensations)
  • Upper limb weakness, numbness
  • Lower limb stiffness, weakness, or sensory loss
  • Unilateral or bilateral limb/body pain
  • Autonomic symptoms such as bowel or bladder incontinence, erectile dysfunction, or difficulty passing urine

Workup

Physicians may ask questions about the existence, duration, and location of pain or other symptoms and may consider a number of functional or imaging tests to assess the stage and severity of DCM progression. These may include, but are not limited to the following:
Questionnaires and Assessments

Questionnaires and Assessments

  • Modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association assessment (mJOA)
  • Short Form 36—Physical Component Summary (SF36-PCS)
  • Neck Disability Index (NDI)
  • Cervicospinal Dissociation Injury (CSDI)
  • 10 item Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System Global Health Survey (PROMIS10)
Imaging

Imaging

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Radiograph
  • Computed Tomography (CT)
Neurophysiological Testing

Neurophysiological Testing

  • Electromyography (EMG)/ Somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs)

Treatment Approaches

Your physician is likely to recommend a tailored treatment path, often including surgery and rehabilitation. The primary goal of surgery is to decompress the spinal cord, frequently requiring a fusion with placement of metallic rods, screws, or plates. Following surgery, it is important to target recovery of an individual's specific deficits. That's why Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin have developed a unique Cervical Myelopathy Rehabilitation program that utilizes individualized therapy targeting common symptoms of DCM, supporting recovery of pre-surgical deficits after surgery. This coupling of surgery with rehabilitative care is designed to help the patient effectively recover from symptoms and treatment of DCM. 

Learn more about Cervical Myelopathy

Center for Cervical Myelopathy


The Center for Cervical Myelopathy at the Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Neurosurgery seeks to promote public awareness of and facilitate specialized care for individuals suffering from Cervical Myelopathy. 

Learn more about the Center for Cervical Myelopathy 


Patient Care Specialists

Multidisciplinary clinical care for DCM is delivered through SpineCare at Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

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Diane W. Braza, MD

Chair, Professor

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Heather M. Curtiss, MD, MS

Assistant Professor

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Jordan Gliedt, DC

Assistant Professor

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Dan S. Heffez, MD, FRCS

Professor

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Jeffrey A. King, DC, MS

Associate Professor

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Shekar N. Kurpad, MD, PhD

Sanford J. Larson Professor and Chair

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Max C. Lee, MD

Assistant Professor

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N Timothy Lynch, PhD, ABPP

Adjunct Professor

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Carrie A. Jones, MD

Assistant Professor

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P. Andrew Nelson, MD

Associate Professor

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Brandon J. Rebholz, MD

Associate Professor, Division Director

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Saman Shabani, MD

Assistant Professor

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Bindiya Shah, DO

Assistant Professor

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Carley N. Sauter, MD

Associate Professor

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Karin R. Swartz, MD, FAAN

Assistant Dean, Professor

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Aditya Vedantam, MD

Assistant Professor

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John P. Wanner, MD

Assistant Professor

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Gregory L. Whitcomb, DC

Associate Professor

Contact Us

For assistance in acquiring patient care specific to your needs, the Center for Cervical Myelopathy is supported by patient care services at both Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin. 

Spinal Cord Injury Program at Froedtert Hospital

Patient Support Portal

Spinal Cord Injury Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin

Michelle Wesline, RN - Program Coordinator

(414) 805-2785

Froedtert Occupational & Group Therapy

Taylor Rickard - Occupational Therapist and Group Facilitator

taylor.rickard@froedtert.com