Characteristics of thoracolumbar intramedullary subependymomas

Berk Orakcioglu, Peter Schramm, Patricia Kohlhof, Alfred Aschoff, Andreas Unterberg, Marc-Eric Halatsch


OBJECT: Thoracolumbar intraspinal subependymomas are very rare intramedullary low-grade tumors. The authors report on the clinical and morphological features of 2 cases of thoracolumbar intraspinal subependymomas and provide midterm follow-up data.

METHODS: The clinical and radiological profiles of 2 patients with progressive spinal cord dysfunction due to thoracolumbar intraspinal subependymomas were retrospectively studied and compared with previously reported cases.

RESULTS: Patients with intraspinal subependymomas initially presented with back pain and long-tract signs. The tumors were hyperintense on T2-weighted MR imaging, isointense on T1-weighted imaging, and noncontrast enhancing. Within 1 of the tumors, a medial septum was present on axial T2-weighted imaging. The tumors were intramedullary but grew exophytically and were amenable to gentle surgical separation from normal neural structures. Therefore, gross-total resection was feasible, and neurological outcome was good. No further adjuvant therapy was conducted. On follow-up (at 58 and 18 months, respectively), no tumor recurrence was observed.

CONCLUSIONS: Symptomatic thoracolumbar intraspinal subependymomas with a distinct appearance on MR imaging are amenable to complete excision with favorable neurological outcome. In this study no tumor recurrence was observed at midterm follow-up in either patient, neither of whom underwent adjuvant therapy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of neurosurgery. Spine
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)54-9
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 01.2009


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