Post-traumatic syringomyelia (PTS) presented as a serious delayed complication after spinal cord injury (SCI). In our preliminary pathological investigation of PTS in an animal model, the endogenous repair was activated during the early stage of the central canal expansion. We thought about whether there might be an "early syringomyelia state" with a better outcome. This study aimed to further understand the pathophysiological basis of PTS's occurrence, development, and outcome. A cross-sectional observational study from a single-center syringomyelia database prospectively maintained at China International Neuroscience Institute (CHINA-INI). A consecutive series of 28 PTS patients at our institution for surgical treatment met the inclusion criteria of this study. Their clinical and imaging data in a long-term follow-up were reviewed retrospectively. We compared the surgical outcome between moniliform and distended syringomyelia based on high‑resolution MRI and syringomyelia-related symptoms. American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) impairment scale (AIS) grade to assess their neurological status. Through a series of phenotypic comparisons, we found that moniliform-like syrinx belongs to a special morphological state with a shorter natural history. The patients in the moniliform group had a better surgical outcome compared with those in the distended group (P = 0.028): more obvious symptom improvement as shown in Kaplan-Meier analysis (P = 0.033, Chi square = 4.523) and a higher syringomyelia resolution rate (P = 0.024). We consider the delayed post-traumatic syringomyelia with moniliform type with a better surgical outcome and emphasize the importance of timely intervention to restore cerebrospinal fluid circulation.

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