Unusual presentation of giant cell tumor originating from a facet joint of the thoracic spine in a child: A case report and review of the literature

Journal of Medical Case Reports 07/2013; 7(1):178. DOI: 10.1186/1752-1947-7-178
Source: PubMed


Giant cell tumor of the synovium is a common benign lesion that frequently occurs at the tendon sheaths in the hand; it is usually found in adults over 30 years old. It is related to pigmented villonodular synovitis. Giant cell tumor of the synovium or pigmented villonodular synovitis has been described rarely in the axial skeleton especially in the thoracic vertebrae of a child.
A previously healthy 7-year-old Thai girl presented with back pain and progressive paraparesis and was unable to walk for 1 month. She had weakness and hyperreflexia of both lower extremities. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a well-defined homogeneously and intensely enhanced extradural mass with cord compression at T4 to T7 levels. The patient underwent laminectomy at T4 through to T7 and total tumor removal. Permanent histopathologic sections and immunostains revealed a giant cell tumor of the synovium. Postoperative neurological status recovered to grade V. Magnetic resonance imaging at the 1-year follow-up showed no recurrence and there was no clinical recurrence at the 2-year follow-up.
We report an extremely rare case of giant cell tumor in the epidural space that extended from a thoracic facet joint. The tumor was removed successfully through laminectomies. Although giant cell tumor of a facet joint of the thoracic spine is very rare, it must be considered in the differential diagnosis for masses occurring in the epidural space in a child. Total tumor removal is the best treatment. Careful monitoring of recurrence can achieve a good clinical outcome.

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Available from: Koopong Siribumrungwong, Dec 25, 2013
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    • "Treatment of the PVNS includes gross resection of the mass and close followup for recurrences. To our knowledge only 54 articles related with PVNS in the spine published in the English literature and most of them are case reports [7]. In this report acute spastic paraparesis with one month of back pain history and PVNS of thoracic 7th vertebra are reported. "
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