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Daily bibliographic review of the Neurosurgery Department. La Fe University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

Surgical manifestations of thoracic arachnoid pathology

Thoracic arachnoid pathology

J Neurosurg Spine 20:30–40, 2014

Various pathologies involving the thoracic arachnoid mater uniformly manifest as thoracic myelopathy and may present a significant management dilemma. The authors undertook this study to assess outcome in cases of thoracic myelopathy due to thoracic arachnoid pathology.

Methods. The authors have cared for and followed 28 patients with thoracic myelopathy from thoracic arachnoid pathology over the last 17 years. A chart review and contemporary follow-up of these patients was performed and outcomes were reported.

Results. Patients with thoracic myelopathy from thoracic arachnoid pathology often have improvement in their condition after surgical decompression/detethering procedures. While not universal, patients in this series had improvement in mJOA scores at 1 year after surgery (p = 0.0001) and at last follow-up (p = 0.04). Results indicated that across a wide variety of pathologies the extent of thoracic spinal cord involvement is a predictor of the disease course and outcome. Comparison of the group of patients with cord involvement limited to 2 vertebral segments (short-segment pathology) versus the group with cord tethering of more than 2 segments (long-segment pathology) showed that patients in the short-segment group more frequently had ventral or dorsal arachnoid bands (p = 0.003), more frequently had signal change in the cord on MRI (p = 0.02), and less frequently presented with a syrinx (p = 0.02), and a smaller percentage of patients in this group underwent reoperation (p = 0.02). While patients with shortsegment pathology typically improved after a single operative intervention, patients with long-segment pathology typically improved after multiple operations, frequently for CSF diversion.

Conclusions. Thoracic arachnoid pathology causing thoracic cord dysfunction and myelopathy is varied, has multiple etiologies, and can be difficult to treat over the long term. Surgical management, when indicated, is case specific. Serial long-term follow-up is essential to document enduring clinical and radiographic success.

Category: Spine

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