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1.  “Juxtafacet cysts”, a misleading name for cystic formations of mobile spine (CYFMOS) 
European Spine Journal  2007;16(9):1499-1505.
To present 58 cystic space-occupying formations of the spinal canal in 53 cases; these formations are called “juxtafacet cysts”. Fifty-Three patients (33 women and 20 men, with an average age of 60.8 years) were evaluated retrospectively by neurosurgery. All of the patients had received simple X-P, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) before surgery. The neurological findings were evaluated on admission and in a follow-up review. Surgical intervention was performed on all patients and they underwent gross-total cyst removal. During surgery, the origin of a cyst was well observed. Follow-up data ranged from 6 to 46 months. Patient outcome was graded on a scale of excellent, good, or poor. Histological findings were evaluated. In 53 patients 58 cysts were identified. Four of the patients had multiple cysts. All cysts were associated with mobile spine. Fifty-five cysts were found in the lumbo-sacral region, two cysts were found in the cervico-thoracic region and one cyst in the thoracic region. Forty-two patients presented back pain and 52 patients presented radicular pain. Four patients had a cauda equina syndrome. Sensory disturbance was observed in 24 cases and motor weakness was observed in 21 cases. Claudication was observed in 19 cases. All cases with cervico-thoracic or thoracic cysts presented myelopathy. The duration of these clinical symptoms ranged from 10 days to 10 years. After surgery there was no case of a recurrent cyst during the follow-up period. Thirty-four cases had an excellent outcome, 18 a good outcome, and one a poor outcome. Out of 58 cysts 32 were joint cysts (11 synovial cysts, 21 ganglion cysts). A further 19 were flavum cysts, one was a posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL) cyst and six others were unknown pseudo cysts. In 34 of the cysts we found hemosiderin deposits and in eight amyloid deposits. Present investigation and findings in literature show a clear comparison of these cystic formations and the mobile part of the spine. An anatomical relation to a vertebral joint (“facet”) is only found in some of the cases (32 of 58). Further to that, the name “cyst” is not correct either, because most of the cystic formations are presented without a cell lining on their internal wall and therefore they are pseudo-cystic. We think that these cystic formations should be called “cystic formations of mobile spine” (CYFMOS) rather than “juxtafacet cysts”. A surgical intervention is the best treatment for these cysts if they cause a compression of nerve roots or/and of the spinal cord.
PMCID: PMC2200759  PMID: 17203271
Synovial cyst; Pseudo cyst; Ganglion cyst; Juxtafacet cyst; Mobile spine
2.  Midline synovial and ganglion cysts causing neurogenic claudication 
Typically situated posterolateral in the spinal canal, intraspinal facet cysts often cause radicular symptoms. Rarely, the midline location of these synovial or ganglion cysts may cause thecal sac compression leading to neurogenic claudication or cauda equina syndrome. This article summarizes the clinical presentation, radiographic appearance, and management of three intraspinal, midline facet cysts. Three patients with symptomatic midline intraspinal facet cysts were retrospectively reviewed. Documented clinical visits, operative notes, histopathology reports, and imaging findings were investigated for each patient. One patient presented with neurogenic claudication while two patients developed partial, subacute cauda equina syndrome. All 3 patients initially responded favorably to lumbar decompression and midline cyst resection; however, one patient required surgical stabilization 8 mo later. Following the three case presentations, we performed a thorough literature search in order to identify articles describing intraspinal cystic lesions in lateral or midline locations. Midline intraspinal facet cysts represent an uncommon cause of lumbar stenosis and thecal sac compression. Such entities should enter the differential diagnosis of midline posterior cystic lesions. Midline cysts causing thecal sac compression respond favorably to lumbar surgical decompression and cyst resection. Though laminectomy is a commonly performed operation, stabilization may be required in cases of spondylolisthesis or instability.
PMCID: PMC3868712  PMID: 24364023
Midline; Synovial; Ganglion; Intraspinal; Cyst; Neurogenic; Claudication; Laminectomy; Facet
3.  Transarticular fusion for treatment of cystic lesion arising from an odontoid fracture 
European Spine Journal  2012;22(1):21-25.
Odontoid fractures are the most common upper cervical spine fracture. There are two mechanisms in which odontoid fractures occur, most commonly hyperflexion of the neck resulting in displacement of the dens anteriorly and hyperextension resulting in posterior dens displacement. Type 2 fractures are the most common and are associated with significant non-union rates after treatment. One possible consequence of an odontoid fracture is a synovial cyst, resulting in spinal cord compression, presenting as myelopathy or radiculopathy. Synovial cysts as a result of spinal fracture, usually of the facet joint, are most common in the lumbar region, followed by the thoracic and then cervical region; cervical cysts are rare. Fracture and subsequent cyst formation is thought to be related to hyper-motion or trauma of the spine. This is reinforced by the appearance of spinal synovial cysts most commonly at the level of L4/5; this being the region with the biggest weight-bearing function. The most common site of cervical cyst formation is at the level of C7/T1; this is a transitional joint subjected to unique stress and mechanical forces not present at higher levels. Treatment of a cervical synovial cyst at the level of the odontoid is challenging with little information available in the literature. The majority of cases appear to implement posterior surgical resection of the cyst, with fusion of adjacent cervical vertebrae to stabilise the fracture, resulting in restricted range of movement.
Case presentation
We describe a case concerning a 39-year-old female who presented with uncertain cause of odontoid fracture, resulting in a cystic lesion compressing the upper cervical spinal cord.
Minimal invasive surgery of C1/C2 transarticular fusion was successfully performed resulting in significant improvement of neurological symptoms in this patient. At 1-year follow-up, the cyst had resolved without surgical removal and this was confirmed by radiological measures.
PMCID: PMC3540314  PMID: 22382724
Transarticular fusion; Odontoid fracture; Cervical cyst; Cystic lesion
4.  A cervical ligamentum flavum cyst in an 82-year-old woman presenting with spinal cord compression: a case report and review of the literature 
We report on a very rare case of a cervical ligamentum flavum cyst, which presented with progressive myelopathy and radiculopathy. The cyst was radically extirpated and our patient showed significant recovery. A review of the relevant literature yielded seven cases.
Case presentation
An 82-year-old Greek woman presented with progressive bilateral weakness of her upper extremities and causalgia, cervical pain, episodes of upper extremity numbness and significant walking difficulties. Her neurological examination showed diffusely decreased motor strength in both her upper and lower extremities. Magnetic resonance imaging of her cervical spine demonstrated a large, well-demarcated cystic lesion on the dorsal aspect of her spinal cord at the C3 to C4 level, significantly compressing the spinal cord at this level, in close proximity to the yellow ligament and the C3 left lamina. The largest diameter of this lesion was 1.4 cm, and there was no lesion enhancement after the intravenous administration of a paramagnetic contrast. The lesion was surgically removed after a bilateral C3 laminectomy. The thick cystic wall was yellow and fibro-elastic in consistency, while its content was gelatinous and yellow-brownish. A postoperative cervical-spine magnetic resonance image was obtained before her discharge, demonstrating decompression of her spinal cord and dural expansion. Her six-month follow-up evaluation revealed complete resolution of her walking difficulties, improvement in the muscle strength of her arms (4+/5 in all the affected muscle groups), no causalgia and a significant decrease in her preoperative upper extremity numbness.
Cervical ligamentum flavum cysts are rare benign lesions, which should be included in the list of differential diagnosis of spinal cystic lesions. They can be differentiated from other intracanalicular lesions by their hypointense appearance on T1-weighted and hyperintense appearance on T2-weighted magnetic resonance images, with contrast enhancement of the cystic wall. Surgical extirpation of the cyst is required for symptom alleviation and decompression of the spinal cord. The outcome of these cysts is excellent with no risk of recurrence.
PMCID: PMC3325862  PMID: 22458344
5.  Lumbar discal cyst causing bilateral radiculopathy 
Discal cyst is a rare lesion that can result in clinical symptoms typical of disc herniation manifesting as a unilateral single nerve root lesion. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first reported case of discal cyst resulting in bilateral radiculopathy.
Case Description:
A 48-year-old female presented with bilateral sciatica and neurogenic claudication for 3 months. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed an extradural cystic lesion compressing the ventral aspect of the thecal sac at the level of the L3-L4 intervertebral disc. The lesion showed low and high signal intensities on T1- and T2-weighted images, respectively. Total excision of the cyst was achieved after a left hemipartial laminectomy of L3, and an obvious communication with the disc space was found. Bilateral sciatica was immediately resolved after surgery, and was sustained at the two-year follow-up. The histological diagnosis was consistent with a discal cyst.
Although a discal cyst is extremely rare, the possibility of a discal cyst should be considered in differential diagnosis of patients with radiculopathy, particularly when encountering any extradural mass lesion ventral to the thecal sac. Surgical resection is the most employed therapeutic method for symptomatic lumbar discal cysts.
PMCID: PMC3050063  PMID: 21427789
Bilateral; discal cyst; lumbar spinal stenosis; radiculopathy
6.  Artificial Cervical Disc Arthroplasty (ACDA): tips and tricks 
Journal of Injury and Violence Research  2012;4(3 Suppl 1): Paper No. 36.
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is currently treatment of choice for managing medical therapy refractory cervical degenerative disc disease. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of ACDF; patients generally experience rapid recoveries, and dramatic improvement in their pain and quality of life. However, as several studies reported symptomatic adjacent segment disease attributed to fusions’ altered kinematics, cervical disc arthroplasty emerged as a new motion-sparing alternative to fusion. Fusion at one level increases motion at adjacent levels along with increased intradiscal pressures. This phenomenon can result in symptomatic adjacent level degeneration, which can necessitate reoperation at these levels. The era of cervical arthroplasty began in Europe in the late 1990s. In recent years, artificial cervical disc arthroplasty (ACDA) has been increasingly used by spine surgeons for degenerative cervical disc disease. There have been several reports of safety, efficacy and indications of ACDA.
Cervical arthroplasty offers several theoretical advantages over anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in the treatment of selected patients with medically refractory cervical radiculopathy. Preserving motion at the operated level, cervical TDR has the potential to decrease the occurrence of adjacent segment degeneration.
There are a few studies on the efficacy and effectiveness of ACDA compared to cervical fusion. However, the true scenery of cervical arthroplasty yet to be identified.
This study is intended to define patients' characteristics and outcomes of ACDA by a single surgeon in Iran.
This retrospective study was performed in two general Hospitals in Tehran, Iran from 2005 To 2010. All patients were operated by one senior neurospine surgeon. One hundred fifty three patients were operated in this period. All patients signed the informed consent form prior to surgery. All patients presented with cervical discopathy who had myelopathy or radiculopathy and failed conservative management, undergoing cervical disc arthroplasty by ACDA were included, consecutively. Patients were followed for at least 2 years.
Exclusion criteria was age greater than 60 years, non compliance with the study protocol, osteoporosis, infection, congenital or post traumatic deformity, malignancy metabolic bone disease, and narrow cervical canal (less than 12 mm). Heterotopic ossification and adjacent segment degenerative changes were assessed at 2 years follow up by means of neutral and dynamic xrays and CT/MRI if clinically indicated. Neck and upper extremity pain were assessed before the procedure and in the first post-operative visit and 3 months later by means of visual analogue scale.
A standard approach was performed to the anterior cervical spine. Patients were positioned supine while holding neck in neutral position. A combination of sharp and blunt dissection was performed to expose longus coli musculature and anterior cervical vertebrae. Trachea and esophagus were retracted medially and carotid artery and jugular vein laterally. After a thorough discectomy, the intersomatic space is distracted in a parallel way by a vertebral distracter. Followed by Caspar distractor is applied to provide a working channel into posterior disc space. In this stage, any remnant disc materials as well as osteophytes are removed and foraminal decompression is done. Posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL) opening and removal, although discouraged by some, is done next. In order to define the size of the prosthesis, multiple trials are tested. It is important not to exceed the height of the healthy adjacent disc to avoid facet joint overdistraction. An specific insertor is applied to plant the prosthesis in disc space. Control X-rays are advised to check the precise positioning of the implant.
one hundred-fifty three patients including 87 females and 66 males were included. The mean age was 41 for females and 42 for males. Affected level was C5-C6 in 81 cases, C6-C7 in 72 cases and C4-C5 in 10 cases. The most common applied ACDA was DiscoCerv which was inserted in 127 cases followed by prodisc-c in three patients and Baguera in thirty three psatients.Ten cases had two levels involvement. Both neck and upper extremity pain improved significantly in early and late post op assessments compared to pre-op. There was only one operative complication of quadriparesis which might be attributed to the iatrogenic cervical spinal trauma.
Cervical disc arthroplasty has been advocated to address drawbacks of fusion including loss of motion segment and adjacent level degeneration; our study along with several other reports provide considerable evidence in this regard. Cervical disc arthroplasty is a safe and effective alternative for fusion in cervical degenerative disc disease.
Cervical degenerative disc disease, Artificial cervical disc arthroplasty, Safety, Efficacy
PMCID: PMC3571562
7.  CT and MRI in the evaluation of extraspinal sciatica 
The British Journal of Radiology  2010;83(993):791-803.
Sciatica is the most frequently encountered symptom in neurosurgical practice and is observed in 40% of adults at some point in their lives. It is described as pain of the hip and the lower extremity secondary to pathologies affecting the sciatic nerve within its intraspinal or extraspinal course. The most frequent cause is a herniating lumbar disc pressing on the neural roots. Extraspinal causes of sciatic pain are usually overlooked because they are extremely rare and due to intraspinal causes (lumbar spinal stenosis, facet joint osteoarthritis, fracture, and tumors of the spinal cord and spinal column) being the main consideration. Early diagnosis of sciatica significantly improves the likelihood of relieving symptoms, as well as avoiding any additional neurologic injury and unnecessary surgery. We evaluate histolopathologically confirmed extraspinal causes of sciatica cases, accompanied by their presented computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging findings.
PMCID: PMC3473399  PMID: 20647515
8.  Ligamentum Flavum Cyst of Lumbar Spine: A Case Report and Literature Review 
Korean Journal of Spine  2014;11(1):18-21.
Ligamentum flavum cysts have rarely been reported and known to be the uncommon cause of spinal compression and radiculopathy. A 63-year-old man presented right sciatica lasting for 1 month. Lumbar computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated an extradural cystic mass adjacent to the L5-S1 facet joints. Partial hemilaminectomy and flavectomy at the L5-S1 space were performed, and then the cystic mass was excised. Histopathology confirmed a connective tissue cyst, which is consistent with the ligamentum flavum. Microscopic examination of the cyst wall revealed that it is closely packed collagen fibril. The symptom of patient was improved after surgery. Because of rarity of ligamentum flavum cysts and nonspecific clinical and radiologic findings, the preoperative diagnosis is not easy. The histologic features of ligamentum flavum cysts are distinct from other cystic lesion of lumbar spine. This study presents a case and literature review of ligamentum flavum cyst. We summarize the pathophysiology, occurrence, differential diagnosis of rare ligamentum flavum cyst, especially on lumbar spine.
PMCID: PMC4040634  PMID: 24891868
Cyst; Ligamentum flavum; Lumbar vertebrae
9.  Clinical characteristics of intraspinal facet cysts following microsurgical bilateral decompression via a unilateral approach for treatment of degenerative lumbar disease 
European Spine Journal  2013;22(8):1750-1757.
Primary intraspinal facet cysts in the lumbar spine are uncommon, but it is unclear whether cyst incidence increases following decompression surgery and if these cysts negatively impact clinical outcome. We examined the prevalence, clinical characteristics, and the risk factors associated with intraspinal facet cysts after microsurgical bilateral decompression via a unilateral approach (MBDU).
We studied 230 patients treated using MBDU for lumbar degenerative disease (133 men and 97 women; mean age 70.3 years). Clinical status, as assessed by the Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) score and findings on X-ray and magnetic resonance images, was evaluated prior to surgery and at both 3 months and 1 year after surgery. The prevalence of intraspinal facet cysts was determined and preoperative risk factors were defined by comparing presurgical findings with clinical outcomes.
Thirty-eight patients (16.5 %) developed intraspinal facet cysts within 1 year postoperatively, and 24 exhibited cysts within 3 months. In 10 patients, the cysts resolved spontaneously 1 year postoperatively. In total, 28 patients (12.2 %) had facet cysts 1 year postoperatively. The mean JOA score of patients with cysts 1 year postoperatively was significantly lower than that of patients without cysts. This poor clinical outcome resulted from low back pain that was not improved by conservative treatment. Most cases with spontaneous cyst disappearance were symptom-free 1 year later. The preoperative risk factors for postoperative intraspinal facet cyst formation were instability (OR 2.47, P = 0.26), scoliotic disc wedging (OR 2.23, P = 0.048), and sagittal imbalance (OR 2.22, P = 0.045).
Postoperative intraspinal facet cyst formation is a common cause of poor clinical outcome in patients treated using MBDU.
PMCID: PMC3731472  PMID: 23543390
Decompression microsurgery; Minimally invasive surgery; Lumbar spinal stenosis; Lumbar spine
10.  Sacral laminoplasty and cystic fenestration in the treatment of symptomatic sacral perineural (Tarlov) cysts: Technical case report 
Perineural cysts of the sacrum, or Tarlov cysts, are cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-filled sacs that commonly occur at the intersection of the dorsal root ganglion and posterior nerve root in the lumbosacral spine. Although often asymptomatic, these cysts have the potential to produce significant symptoms, including pain, weakness, and/or bowel or bladder incontinence. We present a case in which the sacral roof is removed and reconstructed via plated laminoplasty and describe how this technique could be of potential use in maximizing outcomes.
We describe technical aspects of a sacral laminoplasty in conjunction with cyst fenestration for a symptomatic sacral perineural cyst in a 50-year-old female with severe sacral pain, lumbosacral radiculopathy, and progressive incontinence. This patient had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT)-myelographic evidence of a non-filling, 1.7 × 1.4 cm perineural cyst that was causing significant compression of the cauda equina and sacral nerve roots. This surgical technique was also employed in a total of 18 patients for symptomatic tarlov cysts with their radiographic and clinical results followed in a prospective fashion.
Intraoperative images, drawings, and video are presented to demonstrate both the technical aspects of this technique and the regional anatomy. Postoperative MRI scan demonstrated complete removal of the Tarlov cyst. The patient's symptoms improved dramatically and she regained normal bladder function. There was no evidence of radiographic recurrence at 12 months. At an average 16 month followup interval 10/18 patients had significant relief with mild or no residual complaints, 3/18 reported relief but had persistent coccydynia around the surgical area, 2/18 had primary relief but developed new low back pain and/or lumbar radiculopathy, 2/18 remained at their preoperative level of symptoms, and 1/18 had relief of their preoperative leg pain but developed new pain and neurological deficits.
Sacral laminoplasty and microscopic cystic fenestration is a feasible approach in the operative treatment of this difficult, and often controversial, spinal pathology. This technique may be used further and studied in an attempt to minimize potential surgical morbidity, including CSF leaks, cyst recurrence, and sacral insufficiency fractures.
PMCID: PMC3205499  PMID: 22059124
Laminoplasty; perineural cyst; sacral; Tarlov cyst
11.  Diagnostic validity of somatosensory evoked potentials in subgroups of patients with sciatica 
European Spine Journal  2001;11(1):38-46.
The diagnostic utility of scalp-recorded somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) in patients with sciatica has generally been regarded as low. The purpose of the present study was to determine the validity of sensory nerve SEP in different subgroups of sciatic patients. A total of 65 consecutive patients with sciatica showing disc pathology and/or facet joint hypertrophy on lumbar computed tomography (CT) and/or myelography were studied. Symptomatic myelographically compressed nerve roots were defined as truly compromised roots. Asymptomatic myelographically normal nerve roots were defined as truly normal roots. Bilateral sensory nerve SEP representing nerve roots L4, L5, and S1 were performed in all patients. Evaluation of SEP included the use of P1 latency inter-root comparison. The false-positive rate of SEP was low. Pathological L4, L5, and S1 SEP therefore strongly indicate true compromise of the corresponding nerve roots. The true-positive rate was higher in patients with facet joint hypertrophy with or without additional disc disease than in patients with disc pathology only, and highest if the sciatic sensory symptoms were present during the SEP registration. Diagnostic validity was not influenced by previous episodes of sciatica, the duration of the present episode, or the number of spinal levels with ipsilateral myelographically compressed nerve roots. Pathological SEP strongly indicate sensory radiculopathy in patients with sciatica. Diagnostic efficacy is higher in patients with facet joint hypertrophy than in patients with disc pathology only and highest when the sciatic symptoms are present during registration.
PMCID: PMC3610494  PMID: 11931062
Evoked potentials Somatosensory Diagnostic tests Sciatica Spinal stenosis Intervertebral disc displacement
12.  Lumbar Intraspinal Extradural Ganglion Cysts 
The lumbar intraspinal epidural ganglion cyst has been a rare cause of the low back pain or leg pain. Ganglion cysts and synovial cysts compose the juxtafacet cysts. Extensive studies have been performed about the synovial cysts, however, very little has been known about the ganglion cyst. Current report is about two ganglion cysts associated with implicative findings in young male patients. We discuss about the underlying pathology of the ganglion cyst based on intraoperative evidences, associated disc herniation at the same location or severe degeneration of the ligament flavum that the cyst originated from in young patients.
PMCID: PMC2729826  PMID: 19707495
Ganglion cyst; Synovial cyst
13.  Acute sciatica and progressive neurological deficit secondary to facet synovial cysts: A report of two cases. 
To describe two patients with lumbar facet synovial cysts causing sciatica and progressive neurological deficit.
Clinical Features:
A 52-year-old female with bilateral sciatica and a neurological deficit that progressed to a foot drop; and a 54-year-old female with worsening sciatica and progressive calf weakness were seen at a major tertiary care centre. Diagnostic imaging studies revealed the presence of spinal nerve root impingement by large facet synovial cysts.
Interventions and Outcomes:
Activity modification, gabapentinoid and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications were unsuccessful in ameliorating either patient’s symptoms. One patient had been receiving ongoing lumbar chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy despite the onset of a progressive neurological deficit. Both patients eventually required surgery to remove the cyst and decompress the affected spinal nerve roots.
Patients with acute sciatica who develop a progressive neurological deficit while under care, require prompt referral for axial imaging and surgical consultation. Primary care spine clinicians need to be aware of lumbar facet synovial cysts as a possible cause of acute sciatica and the associated increased risk of the patient developing a progressive neurological deficit.
PMCID: PMC3430450  PMID: 22997467
synovial cyst; facet joint; progressive neurological deficits, radiculopathy; chiropractic; kyste synovial; facette vertébrale; déficits neurologiques progressifs, radiculopathie; chiropratique
14.  Lumbar Facet Joint Synovial Cysts: Does T2 Signal Intensity Predict Outcomes after Percutaneous Rupture? 
Lumbar facet synovial cysts are a cause of back pain and radiculopathy with facet joint degeneration, the most common cause for cyst formation. Typically, LFSCs are T2 hyperintense on MR imaging, but the signal intensity is variable. Treatment options include percutaneous rupture and surgical resection. This study evaluates the relationship between LFSC signal intensity on MR imaging and outcomes as it relates to percutaneous rupture success and need for subsequent surgery.
A retrospective review of 110 patients who underwent CT fluoroscopic-guided rupture of symptomatic LFSCs was performed. The LFSCs were characterized by their T2 signal intensity on MR imaging and divided into 3 groups: high, intermediate, and low T2 signal intensity. The rates of successful cyst rupture and need for subsequent surgery were recorded.
Percutaneous LFSC rupture was technically successful in 87% of all cases. Cyst rupture was successful in 89% and 90% of high and intermediate signal intensity cysts, respectively, and in 65% of low signal intensity cysts (P = .017, .030). High signal intensity cysts had lower postprocedural surgical rates (29%) when compared with intermediate and low signal cyst as a group (P = .045).
T2 hyperintense and intermediate signal intensity LFSCs are easier to rupture, perhaps because the cysts contain a higher proportion of fluid and are less gelatinous or calcified than T2 hypointense cysts. Patients with T2 hyperintense LFSCs are less likely to need surgery.
PMCID: PMC3801423  PMID: 23449657
15.  Bilateral Thoracic Ganglion Cyst : A Rare Case Report 
Ganglion cysts usually arise from the tissues around the facet joints. It is usually associated with degenerative cahanges in facet joints. Bilateral thoracic ganglion cysts are very rare and there is no previous case that located in bilateral intervertebral foramen compressing the L1 nerve root associated with severe radiculopathy. We report a 53 years old woman who presented with bilateral groin pain and severe numbness. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed bilateral cystic mass in the intervertebral foramen between 12th thoracal and 1st lumbar vertebrae. The cystic lesions were removed after bilateral exposure of Th12-L1 foramens. The result of hystopathology confirmed the diagnosis as ganglion cyst. The ganglion cyst may compromise lumbar dorsal ganglion when it located in the intervertebral foramen. The surgeon should keep this rare entity in their mind for differential diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3730036  PMID: 23908708
Ganglion cyst; Radiculopathy; Synovial cyst; Thoracic spine
16.  Sciatica due to extrapelvic heterotopic ossification: A case report 
Sciatica is a common problem, usually caused by disc herniation or spinal stenosis. Low back pain is also present in most cases. When sciatica is the unique clinical finding, especially in young patients, extraspinal pathology should be investigated.
Case presentation
We describe a rare case of sciatica in a 32-year-old man, which was developed as a complication of post-traumatic pelvic heterotopic ossification. During the operation, the sciatic nerve was found to be bluish, distorted and compressed in an hourglass fashion around a heterotopic bone mass. The heterotopic bone tissue, 4 cm in diameter, was removed and the patient had fully recovered 3 months after the operation.
In cases of sciatica without back pain, the possibility of direct pressure of the sciatic nerve from cysts, tumours or bone, as in the present case, should be considered.
PMCID: PMC2556682  PMID: 18783597
17.  Lumbar Epidural Varix Mimicking Perineural Cyst 
Asian Spine Journal  2013;7(2):136-138.
Lumbar epidural varices are rare and usually mimick lumbar disc herniations. Back pain and radiculopathy are the main symptoms of lumbar epidural varices. Perineural cysts are radiologically different lesions and should not be confused with epidural varix. A 36-year-old male patient presented to us with right leg pain. The magnetic resonance imaging revealed a cystic lesion at S1 level that was compressing the right root, and was interpreted as a perineural cyst. The patient underwent surgery via right L5 and S1 hemilaminectomy, and the lesion was coagulated and removed. The histopathological diagnosis was epidural varix. The patient was clinically improved and the follow-up magnetic resonance imaging showed the absence of the lesion. Lumbar epidural varix should be kept in mind in the differential diagnosis of the cystic lesions which compress the spinal roots.
PMCID: PMC3669700  PMID: 23741553
Epidural; Varix; Perineural cyst; Surgery
18.  Sciatica from a Foraminal Lumbar Root Schwannoma: Case Report and Review of Literature 
Case Reports in Orthopedics  2012;2012:142143.
Sciatica is commonly caused by lumbar prolapsed intervertebral disc (PID) and other spinal lesions. Uncommon causes like nerve root schwannoma are rarely considered in the differential diagnosis of sciatica. Spinal schwannomas occur both sporadically and in association with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1; von Recklinghausen's disease). This case report describes lumbar foraminal schwannoma as an unusual cause of radiculopathy, presenting clinically as a lumbar disc prolapse. The diagnosis was confirmed on MRI scan. Patient had complete symptomatic recovery following surgical enucleation of the tumour mass from the L5 nerve root. This case report is of particular interest as it highlights the diagnostic confusion, which is bound to arise, because the clinical presentation closely mimics a lumbar PID. This often leads to delay in diagnosis and “failure of conservative treatment.”
PMCID: PMC3504226  PMID: 23259107
19.  Successful operative management of an upper lumbar spinal canal stenosis resulting in multilevel lower nerve root radiculopathy 
Lumbar stenosis is a common disorder, usually characterized clinically by neurogenic claudication with or without lumbar/sacral radiculopathy corresponding to the level of stenosis. We present a case of lumbar stenosis manifesting as a multilevel radiculopathy inferior to the nerve roots at the level of the stenosis. A 55-year-old gentleman presented with bilateral lower extremity pain with neurogenic claudication in an L5/S1 distribution (posterior thigh, calf, into the foot) concomitant with dorsiflexion and plantarflexion weakness. Imaging revealed grade I spondylolisthesis of L3 on L4 with severe spinal canal stenosis at L3-L4, mild left L4-L5 disc herniation, no stenosis at L5-S1, and no instability. EMG revealed active and chronic L5 and S1 radiculopathy. The patient underwent bilateral L3-L4 hemilaminotomy with left L4-L5 microdiscectomy for treatment of his L3-L4 stenosis. Postoperatively, he exhibited significant improvement in dorsiflexion and plantarflexion. The L5-S1 level was not involved in the operative decompression. Patients with radiculopathy and normal imaging at the level corresponding to the radiculopathy should not be ruled out for operative intervention should they have imaging evidence of lumbar stenosis superior to the expected affected level.
PMCID: PMC4244769  PMID: 25552866
Neurogenic claudication; radiculopathy; surgical decompression; upper lumbar stenosis
20.  A case of sacral hydatid cyst 
Hydatid cyst of bone constitutes only 0.5-2% of all hydatidoses. The thoracic spine is the most common site of spinal hydatidoses. Primary hydatid cyst of the sacral spinal canal is rare.
A 19-year-old man had cauda equina syndrome with pelvic pain 15 days ago, the pelvic radiography shows a lytic image depend on the left sacral wing. MRI showed an intra-pelvic cystic image invading the sacrum T1 hypointense and T2W hyperintense. The Hydatid serology was positive.Surgical treatment consisted of a wide drainage of hydatid cavity dug in the left sacral wing, and by which it communicated intra pelvic, with removal of the entire cyst by gentle aspiration, abundant rinsing with hypertonic saline, release and sacred roots encompassed in a puddle of fibrosis hydatid.The evolution was good with recovery of perineal sensation and anal tone. The sacroiliac joint was considered stable and did not require synthesis or reconstruction.
Hydatid cysts predominantly occur in liver and lungs. Involvement of other organs is uncommon. Neither surgery nor medical therapy is generally effective for bone, especially spinal hydatidosis. The initial treatment of choice is surgical excision for neural decompression and establishing diagnosis. Albendazole is the drug of choice against this disease, when suspected, presurgical use of Albendazole in Echinococcus infestations reduces risk of recurrence and/or facilitates surgery by reducing intracystic pressure.
A missed diagnosis of hydatid cyst could be devastating. Hence, hydatid cyst should be kept as a differential diagnosis, when encountered with a cystic lesion of sacrum. In addition, longterm follow-up is mandatory as recurrence is high despite use scolicidal agents.
PMCID: PMC4064476  PMID: 24912110
Hydatid cyst; Sacral; Surgery
21.  A Ganglion Cyst in the Second Lumbar Intervertebral Foramen 
Ganglion cysts usually arise from the tendon sheaths and tissues around the joints. It is usually associated with degenerative arthritic changes in older people. Ganglion cyst in the spine is rare and there is no previous report on case that located in the intervertebral foramen and compressed dorsal root ganglion associated severe radiculopathy. A 29-year-old woman presented with severe left thigh pain and dysesthesia for a month. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a dumbbell like mass in the intervertebral foramen between second and third lumbar vertebrae on the left side. The lesion was removed after exposure of the L2-L3 intervertebral foramen. The histological examination showed fragmented cystic wall-like structure composed of fibromyxoid tissue but there was no lining epithelium. A ganglion cyst may compromise lumbar dorsal root ganglion when it located in the intervertebral foramen. Although it is very rare location, ganglion cyst should be included in the differential diagnosis for intervertebral foraminal mass lesions.
PMCID: PMC3098430  PMID: 21607185
Ganglion cyst; Radiculopathy; Lumbar vertebra; Posterior longitudinal ligament
22.  Acute Myelopathy Caused by a Cervical Synovial Cyst 
Synovial cysts of the cervical spine, although they occur infrequently, may cause acute radiculopathy or myelopathy. Here, we report a case of a cervical synovial cyst presenting as acute myelopathy after manual stretching. A 68-year-old man presented with gait disturbance, decreased touch senses, and increased sensitivity to pain below T12 level. These symptoms developed after manual stretching 3 days prior. Computed tomography scanning and magnetic resonance imaging revealed a 1-cm, small multilocular cystic lesion in the spinal canal with cord compression at the C7-T1 level. We performed a left partial laminectomy of C7 and T1 using a posterior approach and completely removed the cystic mass. Histological examination of the resected mass revealed fibrous tissue fragments with amorphous materials and granulation tissue compatible with a synovial cyst. The patient's symptoms resolved after surgery. We describe a case of acute myelopathy caused by a cervical synovial cyst that was treated by surgical excision. Although cervical synovial cysts are often associated with degenerative facet joints, clinicians should be aware of the possibility that these cysts can cause acute neurologic symptoms.
PMCID: PMC4185322  PMID: 25289127
Cervical spine; Synovial cyst; Myelopathy; Radiculopathy; Paralysis
23.  Chronic dura erosion and intradural lumbar disc herniation: CT and MR imaging and intraoperative photographs of a transdural sequestrectomy 
European Spine Journal  2011;21(Suppl 4):453-457.
A 47-year-old male with a history of recurrent low-back pain presented with acute left radiculopathy.
Material and methods
The CT and MR scans showed a severe osteochondrosis of the L4/5 segment, a broad protrusion of the disc annulus and extrusion of nucleus material into the spinal canal on the left side.
The caudally dislocated sequester pieces were visualised intradurally and the intraoperative finding confirmed this rare pathology. After dorsal durotomy-free sequester material was found between the nerve rootlets within the subarachnoid space and altogether ten fragments were removed. Further transdural exploration visualised ventrally a round dura defect surrounded by a thickened arachnoid layer with enlarged veins as a sign of a chronic erosive process.
Patients history, imaging and the intraoperative findings support the thesis, that chronic degenerative disc disease and adhesions between the posterior longitudinal ligament and the dura are the predisposing pathogenetic factors for an intradural disc herniation.
Intradural disc herniation is a rare condition and requires durotomy to remove the pathology. Therefore an actual high resolution MRI is mandatory in all cases of intraspinal space occupying lesions.
PMCID: PMC3369034  PMID: 22109565
Lumbar disc herniation; Intradural sequester; Transdural sequestrectomy; Dura erosion
24.  Rare ligamentum flavum cyst causing incapacitating lumbar spinal stenosis: Experience with 3 Chinese patients 
Three Chinese patients suffered from severe lumbar spinal stenosis with debilitating symptoms due to a rare condition of ligamentum flavum cysts in the midline of the lumbar spine. This disease is distinct from synovial cyst of the facet joints or ganglion cysts, both intraoperatively and histopathologically. Magnetic Resonance imaging features of the ligamentum flavum cyst are also demonstrated. We share our surgical experiences of identification of the ligamentum flavum cysts, decompression and excision for two of the patients with demonstrably good recovery. This disease should be considered in the differential diagnosis of an extradural instraspinal mass in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis.
PMCID: PMC2988014  PMID: 21047439
25.  Clinical Outcomes of Percutaneous Endoscopic Surgery for Lumbar Discal Cyst 
Discal cyst is rare and causes indistinguishable symptoms from lumbar disc herniation. The clinical manifestations and pathological features of discal cyst have not yet been completely known. Discal cyst has been treated with surgery or with direct intervention such as computed tomography (CT) guided aspiration and steroid injection. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the percutaneous endoscopic surgery for lumbar discal cyst over at least 6 months follow-up.
All 8 cases of discal cyst with radiculopathy were treated by percutaneous endoscopic surgery by transforaminal approach. The involved levels include L5-S1 in 1 patient, L3-4 in 2, and L4-5 in 5. The preoperative magnetic resonance imaging and 3-dimensional CT with discogram images in all cases showed a connection between the cyst and the involved intervertebral disc. Over a 6-months period, self-reported measures were assessed using an outcome questionaire that incorporated total back-related medical resource utilization and improvement of leg pain [visual analogue scale (VAS) and Macnab's criteria].
All 8 patients underwent endoscopic excision of the cyst with additional partial discectomy. Seven patients obtained immediate relief of symptoms after removal of the cyst by endoscopic approach. There were no recurrent lesions during follow-up period. The mean preoperative VAS for leg pain was 8.25±0.5. At the last examination followed longer than 6 month, the mean VAS for leg pain was 2.25±2.21. According to MacNab' criteria, 4 patients (50%) had excellent results, 3 patients (37.5%) had good results; thus, satisfactory results were achieved in 7 patients (87.5%). However, one case had unsatisfactory result with persistent leg pain and another paresthesia.
The radicular symptoms were remarkably improved in most patients immediately after percutaneous endoscopic cystectomy by transforaminal approach.
PMCID: PMC3377877  PMID: 22737300
Lumbar discal cyst; Percutaneous endoscopic transforaminal cystectomy

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