Microsurgical management of spinal schwannomas: evaluation of 128 cases

Division of Neurological Surgery, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
Journal of Neurosurgery Spine (Impact Factor: 2.36). 08/2008; 9(1):40-7. DOI: 10.3171/SPI/2008/9/7/040
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The authors conducted a study to evaluate the clinical characteristics and surgical outcomes in patients with spinal schwannomas and without neurofibromatosis (NF).
The data obtained in 128 patients who underwent resection of spinal schwannomas were analyzed. All cases with neurofibromas and those with a known diagnosis of NF Type 1 or 2 were excluded. Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) scores were used to compare patient outcomes when examining the anatomical location and spinal level of the tumor. The neurological outcome was further assessed using the Medical Research Council (MRC) muscle testing scale.
Altogether, 131 schwannomas were treated in 128 patients (76 males and 52 females; mean age 47.7 years). The peak prevalence is seen between the 3rd and 6th decades. Pain was the most common presenting symptom. Gross-total resection was achieved in 127 (97.0%) of the 131 lesions. The nerve root had to be sacrificed in 34 cases and resulted in minor sensory deficits in 16 patients (12.5%) and slight motor weakness (MRC Grade 3/5) in 3 (2.3%). The KPS scores and MRC grades were significantly higher at the time of last follow-up in all patient groups (p = 0.001 and p = 0.005, respectively).
Spinal schwannomas may occur at any level of the spinal axis and are most commonly intradural. The most frequent clinical presentation is pain. Most spinal schwannomas in non-NF cases can be resected totally without or with minor postoperative deficits. Preoperative autonomic dysfunction does not improve significantly after surgical management.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the safety and feasibility of modest hypothermia as a potential strategy for intraoperative neuroprotection during the removal of intradural spinal tumors. A retrospective review was performed for two groups of patients of a single surgeon who underwent intradural extrameduallary and intramedullary spinal tumor resection of tumors located between cervical level 1 and lumbar 2 over a 10-year period between 2001 and 2010. One cohort received intraoperative moderate hypothermia (33°C) via intravascular catheter cooling during tumor surgery and the second cohort, a historical control group of the same surgeon, underwent surgery at normothermia (≥36°C). The main outcome measured was safety as determined by surgical, medical, and neurological complications. The hypothermia (n=38) and nonhypothermia (n=34) groups were homogenous for patient demographics and baseline comorbidities. There were no differences between the groups regarding tumor level (p=0.51), tumor pathology, or intramedullary versus intradural extramedullary location (p=0.11). The hypothermia group had a lower mean body temperature (33.7°C±0.72 vs. 36.6°C±0.7, p≤0.001) longer postoperative hospital stays (10.8±14.0 vs. 7.3±4.72, p<0.001), but there were no significant differences in operative and perioperative variables such as, total anesthetic time (8.2±2.4 vs. 7.8±2.7 hours, p=0.45), total surgical time (5.9±2.1 vs. 5.7±2.5 hours, p=0.58), or estimated blood loss (483±420 vs. 420±314 mL, p=0.65). There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups with respect to the rate of surgical (3 vs. 2, p=1.0), medical (4 vs. 3, p=1.0), neurological (3 vs. 4, p=0.7), or overall complications (10 vs. 9, p=1.0). In this study, moderate hypothermia via intravascular cooling catheters was successfully performed during 38 intradural spinal tumor surgeries. Compared to the historical control group, the hypothermia patients had longer hospital stays, but did not have higher complication rates. Intraoperative moderate hypothermia during spinal tumor resection is feasible and appeared safe in this limited cohort; however, further studies with larger cohorts will be needed to determine whether peri-operative hypothermia is an effective neuroprotectant strategy in spinal tumor surgery.
    09/2014; 4(3):137-44. DOI:10.1089/ther.2014.0006
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Back pain is common in industrialized countries and one of the most frequent causes of work incapacity. Successful treatment is, therefore, not only important for improving the symptoms and the quality of life of these patients but also for socioeconomic reasons. Back pain is frequently caused by degenerative spine disease. Intradural spinal tumors are rare with an annual incidence of 2-4/1,00,000 and are mostly associated with neurological deficits and radicular and nocturnal pain. Back pain is not commonly described as a concomitant symptom, such that in patients with both a tumor and degenerative spine disease, any back pain is typically attributed to the degeneration rather than the tumor. The aim of the present retrospective investigation was to study and analyze the impact of microsurgery on back/neck pain in patients with intradural spinal tumor in the presence of degenerative spinal disease in adjacent spinal segments. Fifty-eight consecutive patients underwent microsurgical, intradural tumor surgery using a standardized protocol assisted by multimodal intraoperative neuromonitoring. Clinical symptoms, complications and surgery characteristics were documented. Standardized questionnaires were used to measure outcome from the surgeon's and the patient's perspectives (Spine Tango Registry and Core Outcome Measures Index). Follow-up included clinical and neuroradiological examinations 6 weeks, 3 months and 1 year postoperatively. Back/neck pain as a leading symptom and coexisting degenerative spine disease was present in 27/58 (47 %) of the tumor patients, and these comprised to group under study. Patients underwent tumor surgery only, without addressing the degenerative spinal disease. Remission rate after tumor removal was 85 %. There were no major surgical complications. Back/neck pain as the leading symptom was eradicated in 67 % of patients. There were 7 % of patients who required further invasive therapy for their degenerative spinal disease. Intradural spinal tumor surgery improves back/neck pain in patients with coexisting severe degenerative spinal disease. Intradural spinal tumors seem to be the only cause of back/neck pain more often than appreciated. In these patients suffering from both pathologies, there is a higher risk of surgical overtreatment than undertreatment. Therefore, elaborate clinical and radiological examinations should be performed preoperatively and the indication for stabilization/fusion should be discussed carefully in patients foreseen for first time intradural tumor surgery.
    European Spine Journal 12/2013; 23(4). DOI:10.1007/s00586-013-3137-2 · 2.47 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A retrospective study. To assess the case files of patients who underwent surgery for cervical dumbbell schwannoma for determining the differences between schwannomas of the anterior and posterior nerve roots with respect to the incidence of postoperative radicular dysfunction. The spinal roots giving origin to schwannoma are frequently nonfunctional, but there is a risk of postoperative neurological deficit once these roots are resected during surgery. Fifteen patients with cervical dumbbell schwannomas were treated surgically. Ten men and 5 women, who were 35-79 years old (mean age, 61.5 years), presented with neck pain (n=6), radiculopathy (n=10), and myelopathy (n=11). Fourteen patients underwent gross total resection and exhibited no recurrence. Follow-ups were performed for a period of 6-66 months (mean, 28 months). Preoperative symptoms resolved in 11 patients (73.3%) but they persisted partially in 4 patients (26.7%). Six patients had tumors of anterior nerve root origin, and 9 patients had tumors of posterior nerve root origin. Two patients who underwent total resection of anterior nerve root tumors (33.3%) displayed minor postoperative motor weakness. One patient who underwent total resection of a posterior nerve root tumor (11.1%) showed postoperative numbness. Appropriate tumor removal improved the neurological symptoms. In this study, the incidence of radicular dysfunction was higher in patients who underwent resection of anterior nerve root tumors than in patients who underwent resection of posterior nerve root tumors.
    Asian spine journal 04/2015; 9(2):263-270. DOI:10.4184/asj.2015.9.2.263.