Perioperative outcomes and survival after surgery for intramedullary spinal cord tumors: a single-institution series of 302 patients

J Neurosurg Spine 37:252–262, 2022

Intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCTs) are rare neoplasms whose treatment is often technically challenging. Given the low volume seen at most centers, perioperative outcomes have been reported infrequently. Here, the authors present the largest single-institution series of IMSCTs, focusing on the clinical presentation, histological makeup, perioperative outcomes, and long-term survival of surgically treated patients.

METHODS A cohort of patients operated on for primary IMSCTs at a comprehensive cancer center between June 2002 and May 2020 was retrospectively identified. Data on patient demographics, tumor histology, neuraxial location, baseline neurological status, functional deficits, and operative characteristics were collected. Perioperative outcomes of interest included length of stay, postoperative complications, readmission, reoperation, and discharge disposition. Data were compared across tumor histologies using the Kruskal-Wallis H test, chi-square test, and Fisher exact test. Pairwise comparisons were conducted using Tukey’s honest significant difference test, chi-square test, and Fisher exact test. Long-term survival was assessed across tumor categories and histological subtype using the log-rank test.

RESULTS Three hundred two patients were included in the study (mean age 34.9 ± 19 years, 77% white, 57% male). The most common tumors were ependymomas (47%), astrocytomas (31%), and hemangioblastomas (11%). Ependymomas and hemangioblastomas disproportionately localized to the cervical cord (54% and 59%, respectively), whereas astrocytomas were distributed almost equally between the cervical cord (36%) and thoracic cord (38%). Clinical presentation, extent of functional dependence, and postoperative 30-day outcomes were largely independent of underlying tumor pathology, although tumors of the thoracic cord had worse American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) grades than cervical tumors. Rates of gross-total resection were lower for astrocytomas than for ependymomas (54% vs 84%, p < 0.01) and hemangioblastomas (54% vs 100%, p < 0.01). Additionally, 30-day readmission rates were significantly higher for astrocytomas than ependymomas (14% vs 6%, p = 0.02). Overall survival was significantly affected by the underlying pathology, with astrocytomas having poorer associated prognoses (40% at 15 years) than ependymomas (81%) and hemangioblastomas (66%; p < 0.01) and patients with high-grade ependymomas and astrocytomas having poorer longterm survival than those with low-grade lesions (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS The neuraxial location of IMSCTs, extent of resection, and postoperative survival differed significantly across tumor pathologies. However, perioperative outcomes did not vary significantly across tumor cohorts, suggesting that operative details, rather than pathology, may have a stronger influence on the short-term clinical course, whereas pathology appears to have a stronger impact on long-term survival.

Intramedullary ependymoma: long-term outcome after surgery

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:439–447

Overall (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) of patients undergoing spinal ependymoma resection has been frequently reported. Contrarily, OS and PFS of purely intramedullary ependymomas have not been clearly determined yet.

Methods The data of 37 patients undergoing resection of an intramedullary ependymoma (IE) from January 2000 to December 2016 were analysed retrospectively.

Results The mean age was 46 years. The male:female ratio was 24:13. The median duration of symptoms was 12 months. Sixtytwo per cent of ependymomas were in the cervical, 24% in the thoracic, and 14% in the conus region in our series. The median volume was 1.3 ml. A syrinx was found in 49%and a cyst in 32%. GTR was achieved in 89%, STR in three (8%), and PR in one patient (3%). Median follow-up was 114 months. PFS was 87%, 82%, and 82%at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively. OS was 97%, 88%, and 63% at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively. There was a significant difference in PFS depending on the extent of resection and in OS depending on the pre-operative clinical status. There was no significant difference in OS and PFS regarding the other examined influencing factors.

Conclusion GTR resection was the most important factor influencing PFS. According to our results OS of IEs is much worse than that of spinal ependymomas. Our analysis confirms that patients with good pre-operative (McCormick grade 1 and 2) clinical status have significantly better OS than patients with McCormick grade 3 and higher.

Comparison of Outcome Between Surgical and Conservative Management of Symptomatic Spinal Cord Cavernous Malformations

Comparison of Outcome Between Surgical and Conservative Management of Symptomatic Spinal Cord Cavernous Malformations

Neurosurgery 78:552–561, 2016

Intramedullary cavernous malformations (CMs) are rare lesions with unclear natural history.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the functional outcomes of spinal CMs managed surgically and conservatively.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective study of patients diagnosed with intramedullary CMs seen at our institution from 2006 to 2013. Functional outcomes of patients were assessed by treatment modality with the Modified McCormick Scale and Karnofsky Performance Status.

RESULTS: We identified a total of 85 study-eligible patients; 51 (60.0%) were male. Mean age of patients was 40.5 years. Fifty-eight patients underwent microsurgical removal, and 27 patients underwent conservative management. All patients except 1 harbored a single symptomatic intramedullary CM. Mean follow-up time was 42.8 months. For the surgical group (n = 58), 51 CMs were completely resected. During the follow-up period, 40 patients (69.0%) within the surgical group had improvement in neurological state, 16 patients (27.6%) remained unchanged, and 2 patients (3.4%) experienced deteriorated functional status. In the conservative group, 4 patients (14.8%) had improvement of their symptoms, 19 patients (70.4%) remained in baseline, and 4 patients (14.8%) deteriorated. No significant statistical difference was observed in followup Karnofsky Performance Status assessment (odds ratio = 0.89; 95% confidence interval = 0.73-1.08; P = .15) or Modified McCormick Scale assessment (odds ratio = 0.90; 95% confidence interval = 0.74-1.10; P = .30) after adjustment for preoperative lesion size and location. Annual hemorrhagic risk was 3.9% in conservatively managed patients. In contrast, no patients experienced subsequent hemorrhages after surgical resection.

CONCLUSION: Surgical resection of intramedullary CMs eliminates the risk of subsequent hemorrhagic and may achieve satisfactory outcome when patients are carefully selected. Although conservative management is recommended in patients at high surgical risk, they should be closely monitored because of persistent hemorrhagic risk.

Use of microscope-integrated near-infrared indocyanine green videoangiography in the surgical treatment of intramedullary cavernous malformations

ICG video intram. cavernomas

J Neurosurg Spine 18:443–449, 2013

The characteristics and efficacy of indocyanine green (ICG) videoangiography in cavernous malformation (CM) have not been fully elucidated. The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential utility of ICG videoangiography in the surgical treatment of intramedullary CMs.

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 8 cases involving 5 men and 3 women who had undergone surgery for intramedullary CM between January 2008 and July 2011. All patients were evaluated by means of MRI. The MRI findings and clinical history in all cases suggested intramedullary CM as a preoperative diagnosis. In 2 of 8 cases, dilated venous structures associated with CMs were demonstrated. In one of these cases, there were coexisting extramedullary CMs. Intraoperatively, ICG fluorescence was observed for 5 minutes using microscope-integrated videoangiography.

In all 8 cases, intra- and extramedullary CMs were seen as avascular areas on ICG videoangiography. Indocyanine green videoangiography helped surgeons to localize and predict margins of the lesions before performing myelotomy. Importantly, in the cases with associated venous anomalies, ICG videoangiography was useful in delineating and preserving the venous structures. In extramedullary CMs located dorsal to the spinal cord, gradual ICG infiltration was seen, starting at 110 seconds and maximal at 210 seconds after injection. Postoperative MRI confirmed total removal of the lesions in all cases, and subsequent recovery of all patients was uneventful.

Indocyanine green videoangiography provided useful information with regard to the detection of lesion margins by demonstrating intramedullary CMs as avascular areas. In cases associated with venous anomalies, ICG contributed to safe and complete removal of the CMs by visualizing the venous structure. In extramedullary CMs, ICG videoangiography demonstrated the characteristic of slow blood flow within CMs.

Microsurgical management of glomus spinal arteriovenous malformations: pial resection technique

J Neurosurg Spine 16:523–531, 2012 .DOI: 10.3171/2012.3.SPINE11982

Intramedullary, or glomus, spinal arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are rare vascular lesions amenable to resection with or without adjuvant embolization. The authors retrospectively reviewed the senior author’s (R.F.S.’s) surgical series of intramedullary spinal AVMs to evaluate clinical and radiographic outcomes.

Detailed chart and radiographic reviews were performed for all patients with intramedullary spinal AVMs who underwent surgical treatment between 1994 and 2011. Presenting and follow-up neurological examination results were obtained and graded using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) and McCormick Scale. Surgical technique, outcomes, complications, and long-term angiographic studies were reviewed.

During the study period, 20 patients (10 males and 10 females) underwent resection of glomus spinal AVMs. The mean age at presentation was 30 ± 17 years (range 7–62 years). The location of the AVMs was as follows: cervical spine (n = 10), thoracic spine (n = 9), and cervicothoracic junction (n = 1). The most common presenting signs and symptoms included paresis or paralysis (65%), paresthesias (40%), and myelopathy (40%). Perioperative embolization was performed in the majority (60%) of patients. Pial AVM resection was performed in 17 cases (85%). Angiographically verified AVM obliteration was achieved in 15 patients (75%). At a mean follow-up duration of 45.4 ± 52.4 months (range 2–176 months), 14 patients (70%) remained functionally independent (mRS and McCormick Scale scores ≤ 2). One perioperative complication occurred, yielding a surgical morbidity rate of 5%. Three symptomatic spinal cord tetherings occurred at a mean of 5.7 years after AVM resection. No neurological decline was observed after endovascular and surgical interventions. No deaths occurred. Long-term angiographic follow-up data were available for 9 patients (40%) at a mean of 67.6 ± 60.3 months (range 5–176 months) following AVM resection. Durable AVM obliteration was documented in 5 (83%) of 6 patients.

Intramedullary AVMs may be safely resected with satisfactory clinical and angiographic results. The pial resection technique, which provides subtotal AVM nidus resection, effectively devascularized these lesions, as confirmed on postoperative angiography, without violating the spinal cord parenchyma, thereby potentially reducing iatrogenic injury.

Intramedullary high signal intensity and neurological status as prognostic factors in cervical spondylotic myelopathy

Acta Neurochir (2010) 152:1687–1694. DOI 10.1007/s00701-010-0692-8

The neurological outcome of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) may depend on multiple factors, including age, symptom duration, cord compression ratio, cervical curvature, canal stenosis, and factors related to magnetic resonance (MR) signal intensity (SI). Each factor may act independently or interactively with others. To clarify the factors in prognosis, we prospectively analyzed the outcomes of patients with myelopathy caused by soft disc herniation in correlation with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings and other clinical parameters.

Materials and methods From June 2006 to July 2009, we performed surgical operations in 137 patients with CSM. Of these patients, 70 (51.1%), including 45 men and 25 women with ventral cord compression at one or two levels, underwent anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. The mean duration of follow-up was 32.7 months. We surveyed the cervical curvature index (CCI), canal stenosis (Torg–Pavlov ratio), cord compression ratio, the length of SI change on T2WI, and clinical outcome using the Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) score for cervical myelopathy. The MRI SI was evaluated by grade: grade 0, no change in signal intensity; grade 1, light signal change; and grade 2, bright signal change on the T2WI. Multifactorial effects were identified by regression analysis.

Results The mean preoperative and postoperative JOA scores were 10.5±2.9 and 14.9±2.1, respectively (p< 0.05). The mean recovery rate based on the JOA score was 70.0±20.1%. The respective preoperative JOA scores and recovery ratios(%) were 11.6±2.3 and 81.5±17.0% in 20 patients with SI grade 0; 10.8±2.3 and 70.1±17.3% in 25 patients with grade 1; and 9.2±3.6 and 60.7±20.9% in 25 patients with grade 2, respectively. Post-surgical neurological outcome showed no significant relationship to age, symptom duration, cervical alignment, stenosis, or cord compression.

Conclusions Among the variables tested, preoperative neurological status and intramedullary signal intensity were significantly related to neurological outcome. The better the preoperative neurological status was, the better the postoperative neurological outcome. The SI grade on the preoperative T2WI was negatively related to neurological outcome. Hence, the severity of SI change and preoperative neurological status emerged as significant prognostic factors in post-operative CSM.

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