[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECT Ependymomas of the filum terminale provide specific surgical challenges due to their often enormous size, contact with nerve roots of the cauda equina and conus, and potential for subarachnoid dissemination. This study presents treatment results for these tumors over a 30-year period. METHODS Among 1447 patients with tumors of the spinal canal treated between 1980 and 2014, 618 patients presented with extramedullary tumors. Of these, 42 patients (25 males, 17 females) demonstrated a myxopapillary ependymoma in the lumbosacral region. Thirty-four patients underwent 36 operations for 39 such tumors. The mean patient age was 38 ± 14 years (range 11-73 years), with an average clinical history of 37 ± 67 months. Patients were followed through outpatient visits and questionnaires, with a mean follow-up of 10 years (127 ± 100 months). Twenty-seven operations were performed to treat de novo tumors and the remainder were undertaken on recurrent tumors. Short-term results were determined for individual symptoms, and tumor recurrence rates were calculated with Kaplan-Meier statistical analyses. RESULTS Subarachnoid dissemination was observed in 11 patients and was related to previous surgery in 9 patients and associated with extensive tumors in 2 patients. Gross-total resections (GTR) were achieved in 28 operations (77.7%) and subtotal resections in the remainder. Subtotal resections were restricted to unencapsulated ependymomas (61.5%). Radiotherapy was employed after 6 operations on unencapsulated tumors, with 5 of these also demonstrating subarachnoid seeding. Permanent surgical morbidity affected 3 patients who experienced permanent worsening of bladder function, while 7 patients showed no postoperative changes, and the remaining 26 operations were followed by improvements. Long-term outcome depended on the amount of resection and the presence of a tumor capsule. Eight of 9 tumor recurrences affected unencapsulated tumors, of which 3 had undergone GTR. The overall recurrence rates were 6.6%, 19.0%, and 37.0% after 1, 10, and 20 years, respectively. For unencapsulated ependymomas, the corresponding rates were 15.6%, 32.5%, and 66.2% after 1, 10, and 20 years, respectively, with significantly lower rates of 9.1% after 10 and 20 years for encapsulated tumors. Postoperative radiotherapy tended to prolong the recurrence-free interval for patients with unencapsulated tumors. Five patient deaths occurred during follow-up, of which 2 deaths were tumor related and occurred at 216 and 287 months after surgery. CONCLUSION Extramedullary ependymomas are slow-growing tumors in the lumbosacral region, sometimes with an indolent course for long periods of time. Despite their delicate location and often enormous size, surgical morbidity in experienced hands is low, with good chances for postoperative clinical improvements and very low recurrence rates after GTR for encapsulated tumors. The role of postoperative radiotherapy remains controversial. Radiotherapy may be considered after incomplete resections of unencapsulated tumors and/or for patients with subarachnoid dissemination.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECT Ependymomas represent the most common intramedullary tumor in adults. Despite their usually well-defined dissection plane, surgical morbidity has been documented to be considerably higher compared with other intramedullary entities. This study presents an analysis of risk factors for surgical morbidity and data on long-term results for intramedullary ependymomas. METHODS Among 1447 patients with tumors of the spinal canal treated between 1980 and 2014, 309 patients presented with intramedullary tumors. One hundred patients with intramedullary ependymomas underwent 102 operations. Mean age was 44 ± 15 years (range 8-74 years). Patients were followed by outpatient visits and questionnaires, with a mean follow-up of 77 ± 91 months. Short-term results were determined for individual symptoms and the McCormick Scale, whereas tumor recurrence rates were calculated with Kaplan-Meier statistics. RESULTS Compared with cervical ependymomas, those of the thoracic spine were associated with more severe motor deficits and gait problems at presentation. A total of 86.3% of patients with intramedullary ependymomas underwent gross-total resection (GTR). A low preoperative McCormick grade and first surgery were the strongest predictors for a GTR. Postoperatively, 67.6% of patients demonstrated a worse neurological state at discharge from the hospital. This deterioration was transient for 40.1% of the patients and permanent for 27.5%. In the long term, the McCormick grade remained unchanged from the preoperative grade in 74.5% of patients, while it was improved in 5.9% of patients and increased after surgery in 19.6% of patients. According to a multivariate analysis, the risk of permanent morbidity increased with a thoracic level of the ependymoma, advanced age, a long clinical history, presence of a tumor hemorrhage, and surgery on a recurrent tumor. In the long term, tumor recurrence rates correlated significantly with the amount of resection (4.2% and 18.5% in 20 years after GTR and partial resections, respectively). Postoperative neuropathic pain syndromes affected 37.0% of patients, whereas 4% demonstrated a postoperative myelopathy related to cord tethering at the level of surgery. CONCLUSIONS Intramedullary ependymomas are tumors best treated surgically. A complete resection indicates cure for the overwhelming majority of these patients. Surgery should be performed early by neurosurgeons who deal with these lesions on a regular basis to achieve high GTR rates. Permanent surgical morbidity varies most according to tumor location and patient age.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Object:
Chiari I malformation is the most common craniocervical malformation. Its combination with basilar invagination in a significant proportion of patients is well established. This study presents surgical results for patients with Chiari I malformation with and without additional basilar invagination.
Three hundred twenty-three patients underwent 350 operations between 1985 and 2013 (mean age 43 ± 16 years, mean history of symptoms 64 ± 94 months). The clinical courses were documented with a score system for individual neurological symptoms for short-term results after 3 and 12 months. Long-term outcomes were analyzed with Kaplan-Meier statistics. The mean follow-up was 53 ± 58 months (the means are expressed ± SD).
Patients with (n = 46) or without (n = 277) basilar invagination in addition to Chiari I malformation were identified. Patients with invagination were separated into groups: those with (n = 31) and without (n = 15) ventral compression by the odontoid in the foramen magnum. Of the 350 operations, 313 dealt with the craniospinal pathology, 28 surgeries were undertaken for degenerative diseases of the cervical spine, 3 were performed for hydrocephalus, and 6 syrinx catheters were removed for cord tethering. All craniospinal operations included a foramen magnum decompression with arachnoid dissection, opening of the fourth ventricle, and a duraplasty. In patients without invagination, craniospinal instability was detected in 4 individuals, who required additional craniospinal fusion. In patients with invagination but without ventral compression, no stabilization was added to the decompression. In all patients with ventral compression, craniospinal stabilization was performed with the foramen magnum decompression, except for 4 patients with mild ventral compression early in the series who underwent posterior decompression only. Among those with ventral compression, 9 patients with caudal cranial nerve dysfunctions underwent a combination of transoral decompression with posterior decompression and fusion. Within the 1st postoperative year, neurological scores improved for all symptoms in each patient group, with the most profound improvement for occipital pain. In the long term, late postoperative deteriorations were related to reobstruction of CSF flow in patients without invagination (18.3% in 10 years), whereas deteriorations in patients with invagination (24.9% in 10 years) were exclusively related either to instabilities becoming manifest after a foramen magnum decompression or to hardware failures. Results for ventral and posterior fusions for degenerative disc diseases in these patients indicated a trend for better long-term results with posterior operations.
The great majority of patients with Chiari I malformations with or without basilar invagination report postoperative improvements with this management algorithm. There were no significant differences in short-term or long-term outcomes between these groups. Chiari I malformations without invagination and those with invaginations but without ventral compression can be managed by foramen magnum decompression alone. The majority of patients with ventral compression can be treated by posterior decompression, realignment, and stabilization, reserving anterior decompressions for patients with profound, symptomatic brainstem compression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Basilar invagination is a rare craniocervical malformation which may lead to neurological deficits related to compression of brainstem and upper cervical cord as well as instability of the craniocervical junction. This study presents results of a treatment algorithm developed over a 20-year period focussing on anatomical findings, short-term and long-term outcomes.
European Spine Journal 06/2014; 23(8). DOI:10.1007/s00586-014-3423-7 · 2.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Object:
Surgery of intramedullary tumors is established as the treatment of choice for these challenging lesions. This study presents a detailed analysis of risk factors for surgical morbidity and data on long-term results for intramedullary tumors.
Among 1317 patients with tumors of the spinal canal treated between 1980 and 2012, 278 patients with intramedullary tumors are presented. A total of 225 of these patients underwent 246 operations for treatment of 250 tumors. The mean patient age was 41 ± 17 years (range 3 weeks to 83 years). Patients underwent follow-up through outpatient visits and questionnaires with a mean follow-up of 41 ± 53 months. Tumors were subdivided into 3 groups: displacing tumors (Type A, n = 162), infiltrating tumors (Type B, n = 80), and nonproliferating tumors (Type C, n = 8). A gross-total resection (GTR) was attempted for every tumor except for Type C lipomas. Participating surgeons were divided into 3 groups according to the number of operations they performed. Short-term results were determined for individual symptoms and the modified McCormick Scale, whereas tumor recurrence rates were calculated with Kaplan-Meier statistics.
Overall, 83.3% of Type A tumors underwent GTR compared with 22.5% of Type B and none in Type C. Gross-total resection rates increased throughout the study period and correlated significantly with surgical experience. A worsened neurological state after surgery was seen in 61% of patients. This deterioration was transient in 41.5% and was a common observation after GTR. Permanent morbidity (19.5%) was lowest after GTR and correlated significantly with surgical experience and the preoperative neurological state. Further analysis showed that patients with tumors of thoracic levels, tumor hemorrhages, and malignant and recurrent tumors were at a higher risk for permanent morbidity. In the long term, tumor recurrence rates for ependymomas and benign astrocytomas correlated significantly with the amount of resection. Long-term morbidity affected 3.7% with a postoperative myelopathy related to cord tethering at the level of surgery and 21.9% in form of neuropathic pain syndromes. The rate of postsurgical cord tethering could be lowered significantly by using pia sutures after tumor resection. Neuropathic pain syndromes were more common after surgery for tumors with associated syringomyelia or those located in the cervical cord.
Intramedullary tumors should be surgically treated as soon as neurological symptoms appear. Gross-total resection is possible for the majority of benign pathologies. Cervical tumors are associated with higher GTR and lower permanent morbidity rates compared with thoracic tumors. Surgery on intramedullary tumors should be performed by neurosurgeons who deal with these lesions on a regular basis as considerable experience is required to achieve high GTR rates and to limit rates of permanent morbidity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Syringomyelia is not a disease in its own right but a manifestation of another disease process, which incorporates an obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow in the spinal canal, tethering of the spinal cord, or an intramedullary tumor. Whenever a syrinx is demonstrated, the clinical examination and the analysis of the patient’s history as well as neuroradiological imaging have to concentrate on identifying the underlying cause of the syrinx. If the cause of syringomyelia can be identified and treated successfully, the syrinx will regress and clinical symptoms will improve or remain stable for the future. Whereas diagnosis and treatment of Chiari malformations and intramedullary tumors are well established, the significance of spinal arachnopathies for development and successful treatment of syringomyelia is still not widely recognized. This chapter describes diagnostic and management algorithms as well as results of treatment for patients with syringomyelia related to spinal arachnopathies.
The Chiari Malformations, 01/2013: pages 191-204; , ISBN: 978-1-4614-6368-9
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with Chiari I malformations may present again after a foramen magnum decompression for two reasons: either they are unsatisfied with the result or new neurological symptoms have appeared. This chapter provides a systematic approach to these patients. As a general rule, revision surgery should be reserved for patients with progressive neurological symptoms. Arachnoid scarring causing obstructions of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow was the commonest intraoperative finding in such revisions. Craniocervical instability in patients with basilar invagination or Klippel-Feil syndromes is the other potential mechanism leading to postoperative deterioration after a foramen magnum decompression. In such patients, a revision has to include craniocervical stabilization. Apart from these foramen magnum-related mechanisms, degenerative diseases of the cervical spine may lead to signs of a cervical myelopathy requiring early surgery. With revision surgeries, no major postoperative improvements should be expected. Stabilization of the neurological state is the realistic outlook.
The Chiari Malformations, 01/2013: pages 205-217; , ISBN: 978-1-4614-6368-9
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:: Disturbances of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow are the commonest cause of syringomyelia. Spinal arachnopathies may lead to CSF flow obstructions but are difficult to diagnose. Consequently, associated syringomyelias are often categorized as idiopathic. OBJECTIVE:: In this observational study on non-traumatic arachnopathies from 1991 to 2011, diagnosis of and long-term outcomes for these patients are presented and analyzed. METHODS:: 288 patients were evaluated (mean age: 47±15 years, follow-up: 54±46 months). Decompression with arachnolysis, untethering and duraplasty for restoration of CSF flow was recommended to patients with neurological progression. Neurological examinations, magnetic resonance images (MRI) and follow-up data were evaluated. Individual symptoms were analyzed during the first postoperative year, and long-term outcomes were analyzed with Kaplan-Meier statistics to determine rates for progression-free survival. RESULTS:: 189 patients either refused an operation or were managed conservatively for lack of progression. Among 79 unoperated patients with follow-up information available for up to 8 years, 2 patients deteriorated. 99 patients with progressive symptoms underwent 116 operations with 108 decompressions and 8 other surgeries. Three months postoperatively, 53% considered their status improved and 37% unchanged. In the long-term, surgery on arachnopathies limited to 2 spinal segments was followed by progression-free survival for 78% over 10 years, in contrast to 31% with extensive arachnopathies. CONCLUSION:: Surgery on non-traumatic arachnopathies related to syringomyelia should be reserved for patients with progressive symptoms. Arachnolysis, untethering and duraplasty provide good long-term results for focal arachnopathies. For extensive pathologies with a history of subarachnoid hemorrhage or meningitis, treatment remains a major challenge.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Object:
Decompression of the foramen magnum is widely accepted as the procedure of choice for patients with Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I). This study was undertaken to determine the mechanisms responsible for neurological deterioration after foramen magnum decompression and the results of secondary interventions.
Between 1987 and 2010, 559 patients with CM-I presented, 107 of whom had already undergone a foramen magnum decompression, which included a syrinx shunt in 27 patients. Forty patients who were neurologically stable did not undergo another operation. Sixty-seven patients with progressive symptoms received a recommendation for surgery, which was refused by 16 patients, while 51 patients underwent a total of 61 secondary operations. Hospital and outpatient records, radiographic studies, and intraoperative images were analyzed. Additional follow-up information was obtained by telephone calls and questionnaires. Short-term results were determined after 3 and 12 months, and long-term outcomes were evaluated using Kaplan-Meier statistics.
Sixty-one secondary operations were performed after a foramen magnum decompression. Of these 61 operations, 15 involved spinal pathologies not related to the foramen magnum (spinal group), while 46 operations were required for a foramen magnum issue (foramen magnum group). Except for occipital pain and swallowing disturbances, the clinical course was comparable in both groups. In the spinal group, 5 syrinx shunt catheters were removed because of nerve root irritations or spinal cord tethering. Eight patients underwent a total of 10 operations on their cervical spine for radiculopathies or a myelopathy. No permanent surgical morbidity occurred in this group. In the foramen magnum group, 1 patient required a ventriculoperitoneal shunt for hydrocephalus 7 months after decompression. The remaining 45 secondary interventions were foramen magnum revisions, of which 10 were combined with craniocervical fusion. Intraoperatively, arachnoid scarring with obstruction of the foramen of Magendie was the most common finding. Complication rates for foramen magnum revisions were similar to first decompressions, whereas permanent surgical morbidity was higher at 8.9%. Postoperative clinical improvements were marginal in both surgical groups. With the exception of 1 patient who underwent syrinx catheter removal and had a history of postoperative meningitis, all patients in the spinal group were able to be stabilized neurologically. Long-term results in the foramen magnum group revealed clinical stabilizations in 66% for at least 5 years.
Neurological deterioration in patients after a foramen magnum decompression for CM-I may be related to new spinal pathologies, craniocervical instability, or recurrent CSF flow obstruction at the foramen magnum. Whereas surgery for spinal pathologies is regularly followed by clinical stabilization, the rate of long-term success for foramen magnum revisions was limited to 66% for 5 years due to severe arachnoid scarring in a significant proportion of these patients. Therefore, foramen magnum revisions should be restricted to patients with progressive symptoms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper presents results of a prospective study for patients undergoing surgery for posttraumatic syringomyelia between 1991 and 2010.
A group of 137 patients with posttraumatic syringomyelia were evaluated (mean age 45 ± 13 years, mean follow-up 51 ± 51 months) with pre- and postoperative MRI and clinical examinations presenting in this period and followed prospectively by outpatient visits and questionnaires. Surgery was recommended for symptomatic patients with a progressive course. Short-term results were determined within 3 months of surgery, whereas long-term outcomes in terms of clinical recurrences were studied with Kaplan-Meier statistics.
Three groups were distinguished according to the type of trauma: Group A, patients with spinal trauma but without cord injury (ASIA E, n = 37); Group B, patients with an incomplete cord injury (ASIA C or D, n = 55); and Group C, patients with complete loss of motor function or a complete cord injury (ASIA A or B, n = 45). Overall, 61 patients with progressive symptoms underwent 71 operations. Of these operations, 61 consisted of arachnolysis, untethering, and duraplasty at the trauma level (that is, decompression), while 4 ASIA A patients underwent a cordectomy. The remaining procedures consisted of placement of a thecoperitoneal shunt, 2 opiate pump placements, and 2 anterior and 1 posterior cervical decompression and fusion. Seventy-six patients were not treated surgically due to lack of neurological progression or refusal of an operation. Neurological symptoms remained stable for 10 years in 84% of the patients for whom surgery was not recommended due to lack of neurological progression. In contrast, 60% of those who declined recommended surgery had neurological progression within 5 years. For patients presenting with neurological progression, outcome was better with decompression. Postoperatively, 61% demonstrated a reduction of syrinx size. Although neurological symptoms generally remained unchanged after surgery, 47% of affected patients reported a postoperative improvement of their pain syndrome. After 3 months, 51% considered their postoperative status improved and 41% considered it unchanged. In the long-term, favorable results were obtained for Groups A and C with rates for neurological deterioration of 6% and 14% after 5 years, respectively. In Group B, this rate was considerably higher at 39%, because arachnolysis and untethering to preserve residual cord function could not be fully achieved in all patients. Cordectomy led to neurological improvement and syrinx collapse in all 4 patients.
The technique of decompression with arachnolysis, untethering, and duraplasty at the level of the underlying trauma provides good long-term results for patients with progressive neurological symptoms following ASIA A, B and E injuries. Treatment of patients with posttraumatic syringomyelia after spinal cord injuries with preserved motor functions (ASIA C and D) remains a major challenge. Future studies will have to establish whether thecoperitoneal shunts would be a superior alternative for this subgroup.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Foramen magnum decompression is widely accepted as the treatment of choice for Chiari I malformation. However, important surgical details of the procedure are controversial.
This study analyzes 371 decompressions focusing on intraoperative findings, analysis of complications, and long-term outcomes.
Among 644 patients between 1985 and 2010, 359 patients underwent 371 decompressions. Surgery for symptomatic patients consisted of suboccipital craniectomy, C1 laminectomy, arachnoid dissection, and duraplasty. Short-term results were determined after 3 months; long-term outcomes were evaluated with Kaplan-Meier statistics.
The mean age was 40 ± 16 years; mean follow-up was 49 ± 56 months; 75.8% demonstrated syringomyelia. The complication rate was 21.8% with permanent surgical morbidity of 3.2% and surgical mortality of 1.3%. Of the patients, 73.6% reported improvement after 3 months; 21% were unchanged. Overall, 14.3% demonstrated a neurological deterioration within 5 years and 15.4% within 10 years. The severity of neurological symptoms correlated with the grade of arachnoid pathology. Outcome data correlated with the number of previous decompressions, severity of arachnoid pathology, handling of the arachnoid, type of duraplasty, and surgical experience. First-time decompressions with arachnoid dissection and an alloplastic duraplasty resulted in surgical morbidity for 2.0%, a 0.9% mortality rate, postoperative improvement after 3 months for 82%, and neurological recurrence rates of 7% after 5 years and 8.7% after 10 years.
Arachnoid pathology in Chiari I malformation has an impact on clinical symptoms and postoperative results. Decompressions with arachnoid dissection and an alloplastic duraplasty performed by surgeons experienced with this pathology offer a favorable long-term prognosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The treatment of tethered cord syndromes in adults is discussed regarding the natural history and surgical indications. The author analyzes data obtained in patients who were diagnosed with a tethered cord in adulthood and either underwent surgical or conservative therapy between 1991 and 2009.
Since 1991, data obtained in 2515 patients with spinal cord pathologies were entered into the spinal cord database, and prospective follow-up was performed through outpatient visits and questionnaires. Of the 2515 patients, 85 adults with a tethered cord syndrome formed the basis of this study. The tethering effect was caused either by a split cord malformation, a thick filum terminale, a conus medullaris lipoma with extradural extension, or various combinations of these mechanisms. The mean age of the patients was 46 ± 13 years (range 23-74 years) and the mean follow-up duration was 61 ± 62 months. Two groups were distinguished based on the absence (Group A, 43 patients) or presence (Group B, 42 patients) of an associated lipoma or dysraphic cyst (that is, dermoid, epidermoid, or neurenteric cyst). Surgery was recommended for patients with symptoms only. Short-term results were determined within 3 months of surgery, whereas long-term outcomes (clinical recurrences) were evaluated using Kaplan-Meier statistics.
For all patients, pain was the most common major complaint. Severe neurological deficits were rare. In Group A, 20 of 43 patients underwent surgery, whereas in Group B 23 of 42 patients underwent surgery. Among individuals who did not undergo surgery, 17 patients refused surgery and 25 patients underwent recommended conservative treatment. Short-term postoperative results indicated a significant improvement of pain and a stabilization of neurological symptoms. Long-term results showed a good prognosis in patients in whom first-time (that is, nonrevision) surgery achieved successful untethering, with a 10-year rate of neurological stabilization in 89% of Group A and a 10-year rate of neurological stabilization in 81% of Group B patients. The benefit of secondary operations in Group B was limited, with eventual clinical deterioration occurring in all patients within 10 years. For patients treated conservatively, follow-up information could be obtained in 33 of 42 patients. Twenty-eight patients remained in stable clinical condition. Only 5 of the conservatively treated patients experienced clinical deterioration over time; in 4 of these individuals with deterioration, surgery had been recommended but was refused by the patient. The clinical recurrence rate in all conservatively treated patients was 21% after 10 years. With a recommendation for surgery this figure rose to 47% within 5 years.
Surgery in adult patients with a tethered cord syndrome should be reserved for those with symptoms. In surgically treated patients, pain relief can often be achieved, and long-term neurological stabilization tends to persist more often than it does in conservatively treated patients. A conservative approach is warranted, however, in adult patients without neurological deficits. Revision surgery in patients with complex dysraphic lesions should be performed in exceptional cases only.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Syringomyelia is a chronic disorder of the spinal cord which describes a slowly expanding intramedullary cyst. The syrinx contains clear fluid which appears to be indistinguishable from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or extracellular fluid (ECF).