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1.  Intramedullary hemangioblastomas: timing of surgery, microsurgical technique and follow-up in 23 patients 
European Spine Journal  2008;17(6):882-886.
Hemangioblastomas are highly vascularised tumors of the central nervous system and account for 1.5–2.5% of all spinal cord tumors. Because of the rarity of these tumors, surgical experience is often limited and, therefore, treatment and indications for timing of surgery are discussed controversial. The authors reviewed their data of 23 consecutive patients with respect to timing of surgery, microsurgical technique, and follow-up. Clinical records of 23 consecutive patients with intramedullary hemangioblastomas who underwent first surgery in our department between 1990 and 2005 were reviewed. In three cases the tumors were localised at the craniocervical junction; four patients had a single tumor in the cervical spine, six patients multiple tumors in the cervical and thoracic spine, eight patients in the thoracic spine only, one patient in the conus region, and one patient had multiple tumors located in the thoracic and lumbar spine. In eight patients, a von-Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL) was associated. The neurological follow-up was evaluated according to the classification of McCormick. Operation was recommended to every symptomatic patient as early as possible. In asymptomatic patients with a sporadic tumor surgery was discussed for diagnostic purposes at any time. In VHL patients, surgery was recommended if tumor growth was observed on MRI in the next practicable time. All tumors were diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging and in all cases but one a DSA was performed. All patients were treated microsurgically through a posterior approach. The tumors in the spinal cord were removed microsurgically through a partial hemilaminectomy (n = 1), a hemilaminectomy (n = 15), or laminectomy (n = 4) and at the craniocervical junction (n = 3) through a suboccipital craniotomy. During follow-up after 6 months, 18 patients remained neurologically stable (17 in McCormick grade I and 1 in McCormick grade II) and 5 patients recovered to a better status (3 from grade III to II, 2 from grade II to I). There was one complication with a CSF fistula and one recurrence/incomplete removal. Following the above-mentioned principles of microsurgical removal of intramedullary hemangioblastomas, operation is possible with a low procedure-related morbidity and can be recommended especially in VHL patients with progressive symptoms or tumor growth during follow-up. Patients without VHL most frequently require hemangioblastoma resection for diagnostic purposes and/or because symptoms prompted an imaging work-up that lead to the discovery of the tumor.
PMCID: PMC2518988  PMID: 18389290
Spinal hemangioblastoma; VHL; McCormick; Microsurgery
2.  Treatment Results in the Differential Surgery of Intradural Extramedullary Schwannoma of 110 Cases 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63867.
Study Design
A retrospective study of intradural extramedullary schwannoma.
The purpose of this study was to compare treatment results in the differential surgery of intradural extramedullary schwannoma.
A reference guide to the surgical procedures available to treat intradural extramedullary schwannoma has not yet been established.
The study retrospectively reviewed 110 patients: Group A: laminectomy+microscopic excision; Group B: hemilaminectomy+microscopic excision; Group C: laminectomy+microscopic excision+pedicle screw fixation. Researchers selected patients for this retrospective review by applying the following criteria: 1) back pain spread out from the tumor level, sensory and motor loss; 2) treatment by surgery; 3) clinical diagnosis made by physical examination, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and pathology; 4) a minimum clinical and radiologic follow-up of 12 months. The clinical outcomes were assessed by comparing the Visual Analogue Pain Scores (VAS) and the Japanese Orthopedic Association Scores (JOA score). The study also performed a cost-effectiveness analysis.
Cervical vertebrae: The estimated blood loss in Group B was significantly less than in Group C (P<0.05) (Table 1). Thoracic vertebrae: The duration of hospital stay and estimated blood loss in Group A was significantly less than in Group C (P<0.05) (Table 2, 3). Lumbar vertebrae: The resection rate in Group C was significantly higher than in Group A and Group B (P<0.05) (Table 4). Treatment in Group B was the least expensive, and therefore, the most cost-effective.
In the case of appropriate surgical indications, the study suggests that hemilaminectomy+microscopic excision is advantageous in the removal of cervical schwannoma, and that laminectomy+microscopic excision is advantageous in the removal of thoracic schwannoma; lumbar intradural extramedullary schwannoma can be managed by laminectomy+microscopic excision+pedicle screw fixation.
PMCID: PMC3664559  PMID: 23724010
3.  Single-stage posterior midline approach for dumbbell tumors of the thoracic spine, with intraoperative CT guidance 
Several different procedures have been advocated for thoracic spine dumbbell tumor resection, combining thoracic and neurosurgical approaches, in single and multiple stages, using various incisions and positions. These have led to controversies in the ideal management. The authors report their analysis of a series of 11 patients successfully treated through a one-step midline approach for complete resection and instrumentation when indicated under intraoperative CT (ICT) guidance.
The patients’ clinical presentations, imaging results, operative findings and follow-up were reviewed in 11 patients (age ranged from 11 to 62 years), over the period from August 2007 to May 2010. A single-stage, posterior midline incision approach with laminectomy, facetectomy, costotransversectomy, for complete resection of intraspinal and paraspinal components of tumor was used. Spinal instrumentation under ICT guidance was also carried out in relevant (six) cases with tumors involving junctional spinal regions such the cervico-thoracic or thoraco-lumbar region.
The initial clinical presenting symptom was pain in eight patients and paresthesia in one, while two patients were detected incidentally on routine chest X-rays. Total excision was achieved in 10 patients (9 schwanommas, 1 neurofibroma) with the exception of one patient who had a recurrent malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor adherent to the vertebral artery. No significant postoperative complications occurred and an early mobilization/discharge was achieved in all patients with an average hospital stay of 5 days.
A one-step approach through a posterior midline incision is feasible, safe and efficient for complete excision of thoracic dumbbell tumors. This approach facilitates laminectomy, facetectomy, costotransversectomy and instrumentation under ICT guidance, while limiting muscle damage, blood loss, operative time, postoperative pain, thus enabling early mobilization with a reduced hospital stay.
PMCID: PMC3086164  PMID: 21541199
Neuronavigation; schwannoma; spinal fusion; spinal tumor
4.  Giant thoracic schwannoma presenting with abrupt onset of abdominal pain: a case report 
Giant intradural extramedullary schwannomas of the thoracic spine are not common. Schwannomas, that is, tumors derived from neoplastic Schwann cells, and neurofibromas represent the most common intradural extramedullary spinal lesions. We report the case of a patient with a giant thoracic schwannoma presenting unusually with acute abdominal pain and with delayed neurological impairment.
Case presentation
A 26-year-old Hispanic man with no previous medical problems presented with acute periumbilical pain. After extensive work-up including an exploratory laparotomy for appendectomy, magnetic resonance imaging scans of the lumbar and thoracic spine revealed a giant intradural extramedullary thoracic schwannoma within the spinal canal posterior to the T9, T10, and T11 vertebral bodies. Magnetic resonance imaging signal prolongation was noted in the spinal cord both rostral and caudal to the schwannoma. The patient underwent an urgent laminectomy from T8 to L1. After sacrificing the T10 root, the tumor was removed en bloc. Postoperatively, the patient improved significantly gaining antigravity strength in both lower extremities.
The T10 dermatome is represented by the umbilical region. This referred pain may represent a mechanism by which a giant thoracic schwannoma may present as acute abdominal pain. Acute, intense abdominal pain with delayed neurologic deficit is a rare presentation of a thoracic schwannoma but should be considered as a possible cause of abdominal pain presenting without clear etiology. Although these lesions may be delayed in their diagnosis, early diagnosis and treatment may lead to an improved clinical outcome.
PMCID: PMC2783087  PMID: 19946504
5.  One-Stage Resection of Giant Invasive Thoracic Schwannoma: Case Report and Review of Literature 
The Ochsner Journal  2014;14(1):135-140.
Schwannomas comprise approximately 25% of all spinal tumors, being the third most frequent soft-tissue tumor after hemangiomas and lipomas. Grade 5 invasive giant schwannomas erode the vertebral bodies, involve 2 or more levels, and invade the myofascial planes. Because 3 compartments are involved, these tumors represent a surgical challenge and frequently require staged surgeries with a multidisciplinary surgical team.
Case Report
We report the case of a 62-year-old female who presented with intermittent upper back pain for 3 years. A magnetic resonance imaging scan of the thoracic spine showed a mass invading the vertebral body, pedicle, and lamina of T4 and part of T3 and T5. Needle biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of schwannoma. The patient underwent surgery using a parascapular extracavitary costotransversectomy approach.
Giant invasive spinal schwannomas are rare in the thoracic spine, and surgical approaches usually have entailed multiple-stage surgeries with the assistance of other surgical specialties. Our 1-stage complete surgical resection of a giant invasive spinal schwannoma used a parascapular costotransversectomy approach that maintained spinal stability and thus avoided the need for instrumentation.
PMCID: PMC3963045  PMID: 24688347
Instrumentation; laminectomy; neuroma; spinal fusion
6.  Single-Stage Removal of Thoracic Dumbbell Tumors from a Posterior Approach Only with Costotransversectomy 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2012;53(3):611-617.
Thoracic dumbbell tumors are relatively rare, usually arising from neurogenic elements. Methods for surgical removal thereof remain controversial. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the surgical results of a single-stage posterior approach with laminectomy and costotransversectomy only for the management of thoracic dumbbell tumors.
Materials and Methods
Eight cases of thoracic large dumbbell tumor were analyzed retrospectively: seven men and one woman (mean age, 49 years). Pathologic findings included schwannoma in five patients, neurofibroma in two patients (Recklinghausen in one patient), and ganglioneuroma in one patient. All patients underwent single-stage removal of dumbbell tumors by a posterior approach followed by laminectomy and costotransversectomy combined with instrumentation. Clinical and radiologic outcomes were reviewed, thereafter.
Operative time ranged from 185 to 420 minutes (mean, 313 minutes), with estimated blood loss ranging from 71 to 1830 mL (mean, 658 mL). Postoperative complications included atelectasis in one case. All patients had tumors successfully removed with no neurological deterioration. Spinal deformities were not observed in any patients at the last follow-up (mean, 52 months), with instrumentation.
Single-stage surgery with laminectomy and costotransversectomy may be useful for removing thoracic dumbbell tumors without a combined anterior approach.
PMCID: PMC3343420  PMID: 22477007
Thoracic dumbbell tumor; single-stage surgery; posterior approach; posterior fusion; laminectomy; costotransversectomy
7.  Profiles of Spinal Cord Tumors Removed through a Unilateral Hemilaminectomy 
To present the profiles of spinal cord tumors that can be removed through a unilateral hemilaminectomy and to demonstrate its usefulness for benign spinal cord tumors that significantly occupy the spinal canal.
From June 2004 to October 2010, 25 spinal cord tumors were approached with unilateral hemilaminectomy. We calculated the cross-sectional occupying ratio (CSOR) of tumor to spinal canal before and after the operations.
The locations of the tumors were intradural extramedullary in 20 cases, extradural in 2, and intramedullary in 3. The levels of the tumors were lumbar in 12, thoracic 9, and cervical 4. In all cases, the tumor was removed grossly and totally without damaging spinal cord or roots. The mean height and width of the lesions we195re 17.64 mm (3-47.5) and 12.62 mm (4-32.7), respectively. The mean CSOR was 69.40% (range, 27.8-96.9%). Postoperative neurological status showed improvement in all patients except one whose neurologic deficit remained unchanged. Postoperative spinal stability was preserved during the follow-up period (mean, 21.5 months) in all cases. Tumor recurrence did not develop during the follow-up period.
Unilateral hemilaminectomy combined with microsurgical technique provides sufficient space for the removal of diverse spinal cord tumors. The basic profiles of the spinal cord tumors which can be removed through the unilateral hemilaminectomy demonstrate its role for the surgery of the benign spinal cord tumors in various sizes.
PMCID: PMC3218177  PMID: 22102948
Laminectomy; Microsurgery; Spinal cord neoplasms; Unilateral hemilaminectomy; Spinal ligaments
8.  Hemilaminectomy for Removal of Extramedullary or Extradural Spinal Cord Tumors: Medium to Long-Term Clinical Outcomes 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2010;52(1):121-129.
Laminectomy is generally the treatment of choice for removal of spinal tumors. However, it has been shown that laminectomy may cause instability due to damage of posterior elements of the spinal column, which may induce subsequent kyphosis in the future. Therefore, to reduce the risk of deformity and spinal instability after laminectomy, hemilaminectomy has been used. However, the medium to long-term effects of hemilaminectomy on spinal sagittal alignment is not well understood. The present study was performed to evaluate the clinical outcomes, including spinal sagittal alignment of patients, associated with spinal cord tumors treated by surgical excision using hemilaminectomy.
Materials and Methods
Twenty hemilaminectomy operations at our institute for extramedullary or extradural spinal cord tumors in 19 patients were evaluated retrospectively with an average follow-up of 85 months (range, 40-131 months). Neurological condition was evaluated using the improvement ratio of the Japanese Orthopaedic Association Score (JOA score) for cervical, thoracic myelopathy, or back pain, and sagittal alignment by sagittal Cobb angle of the hemilaminectomied area.
The mean improvement ratio of neurological results was 56.7% in the cervical spine (p < 0.01, n = 10), 26.3% in the thoracic spine (not significant, n = 5), and 48.6% in the lumbar spine (NS, n = 5). The sagittal Cobb angle was 4.3 ± 18.0° in the preoperative period and 5.4 ± 17.6° at the latest follow-up, indicating no significant deterioration.
Hemilaminectomy is useful for extramedullary or extradural spinal cord tumors in providing fair neurological status and restoration of spinal sagittal alignment in medium to long-term follow-up.
PMCID: PMC3017686  PMID: 21155044
Hemilaminectomy; surgical treatment; spinal cord tumors; middle to long term clinical outcome; sagittal alignment
9.  Minimally invasive removal of a giant extradural lumbar foraminal schwannoma 
Purely extradural lumbar schwannomas are rare lesions. Resection traditionally requires an open laminectomy and ipsilateral complete facectomy. Recent reports have demonstrated safety and efficacy of removal of these tumors using mini-open access devices with expandable retractors. We report a case of a giant L3 schwannoma successfully resected through a minimally invasive approach using the non-expandable Spotlight tubular retrator (Depuy Spine).
Case Description:
A 77-year-old woman presented with a history of chronic right leg pain, paresthesias and proximal right leg weakness. Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI) scan revealed a large dumbbell-shaped extradural foraminal lesion at the L3–L4 level with significant extraforaminal extension. The patient underwent a minimally invasive gross total resection (GTR) of the tumor using an 18-mm Spotlight tubular retractor system. Pathology confirmed the lesion to be a benign schwannoma. Postoperatively, the patient's symptoms resolved and she was discharged from the hospital on the second postoperative day. Postoperative MRI showed no residual tumor. The patient returned to normal activities after 2 weeks and remained asymptomatic with no neurological deficits at final 6 months follow-up.
Giant lumbar extradural schwannomas can be safely and completely resected using minimally invasive surgery without the need for facectomy or subsequent spinal fusion.
PMCID: PMC3267373  PMID: 22368787
Giant schwannoma; minimally invasive surgery; spinal neoplasm
10.  An intradural cervical chordoma mimicking schwannoma 
Journal of Injury and Violence Research  2012;4(3 Suppl 1): Paper No. 83.
Chordoma is a relatively rare tumor originating from the embryonic remnants of the notochord. This is an aggressive, slow growing and invasive tumor. It occurs mostly at the two ends of neuroaxis which is more frequent in the sacrococcygeal region. Chordoma in vertebral column is very rare. This tumor is extradural in origin and compresses neural tissues and makes the patient symptomatic. This tumor found extremely rare in the spinal region as an intradural tumor.
The present study reports a rare case of intradural chordoma tumor as well as its clinical manifestations and treatment options.
The patient was a 50-year-old female presented with 9 months history of progressively worsening neck pain, cervical spine chordoma resembling neurinoma and right arm numbness. Physical examination showed no weakness in her limbs, but she had upward plantar reflex and mild hyperreflexia. In a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the cervical spine there was an ill-defined enhancing mass in the posterior aspect of C2-C3 body caused cord compression more severe in right side as well as foraminal scalloping. The patient underwent surgery and after midline posterior cervical incision and paravertebral muscle stripping a laminectomy was performed from C1 through C4 using a high speed drill. Needle biopsy revealed chordoma on frozen section and all of accessible parts of tumor were excised. The gross and microscopic histopathological appearance was consistent with chordoma.
Chordomas are malignant tumors that arise from remains of embryonic notochord. These ectopic rests of notochord termed “ecchordosis physaliphora “can be found in approximately 2% of autopsies. These are aggressive, slow growing, locally invasive and destructive tumors those occur in the midline of neuroaxis. They generally thought to account for 2% to 4% of all primary bone neoplasms and 1% to 4% malignant bone neoplasms. They are the most frequent primary malignant spinal tumors after plasmacytomas. The incidence has been estimated to be 0.51 cases per million. The most common location is sacrococcygeal region followed by the clivus. These two locations account for approximately 90% of chordomas. Of the tumors that do not arise in the sacrum or clivus, half occur in the cervical region, with the remainder found in the lumbar or thoracic region, in descending order of frequency. Cervical spine chordomas account for 6% of all cases. Distal metastasis most often occurs in young patients, those with sacrococcygeal or vertebral tumors, and those with atypical histological features. These tumors usually spread to contiguous anatomical structures, but they may be found in distant sites (skin, musculoskeletal system, brain, and other internal organs). Seeding of the tumor has also been reported, and the likely mechanism seems to be tumor cell of contamination during the surgical procedures. The usual radiological findings in chordomas of spine are destructive or lytic lesions with occasional sclerotic changes. They tend to lie anterolateral, rather than dorsal towards the cord, and reportedly known to invade the dura. The midline location, destructive nature, soft tissue mass formation and calcification are the radiological hallmarks of chordomas. Computed Tomography (CT) scan is the best imaging modality to delineate areas of osteolytic, osteosclerotic, or mixed areas of bone destruction.Chordoma is usually known as a hypovascular tumor which grows in a lobulated manner. Septal enhancement which reflects a lobulated growth pattern is seen in both CT and MRI and even in gross examination. Other epidural tumors include neurinoma, neurofibroma, meningioma, neuroblastoma, hemangioma, lymphoma and metastases. Their differentiation from chordoma may be difficult due to the same enhancement pattern on CT and MRI.
A dumbbell-shaped chordoma is a rare pathogenic condition. The dumbbell shape is a characteristic finding of neurinomas in spine but in spinal neurinomas extention to transverse foramina has not yet been reported. Although our case mimicked a dumbbell shaped neurogenic tumor, its midline location and destructive pattern were characteristic feature indicating a clue to the diagnosis of chordoma that was already confirmed with histopathology.
This unusual behavior of tumor extension can be explained by the soft and gelatinous nature of the tumor enabling the mass to extend or creep into the existing adjacent anatomical structures.
Cervical Chordoma, Intradural, Computed tomography
PMCID: PMC3571609
11.  Evaluation of hemilaminectomy use in microsurgical resection of intradural extramedullary tumors 
Oncology Letters  2014;7(5):1669-1672.
The aim of this study was to investigate the microsurgical techniques of hemilaminectomy, used in the excision of intradural extramedullary (IDEM) tumors, and to illustrate its clinical effects. Clinical data obtained from 16 patients (seven males, nine females) with IDEM tumors, which were treated at the China-Japan Union Hospital between January 2009 and December 2011, were retrospectively analyzed. The mean age of patients was 49 years, ranging from 34–72 years. The IDEM tumors were located cervically in three patients, thoracically in four patients and at the thoracico-lumbar level in nine patients. Fourteen patients underwent hemilaminectomy, while two patients were treated with laminectomy during surgery. The clinical effect of hemilaminectomy was evaluated based on Frankel grade. The mean bleeding volume was 300 ml (range, 150–500 ml) and the mean duration of surgery was 140 min (range, 90–200 min). The maximum and minimum tumor volumes were 4×1.5×1.5 cm and 1.5×1.0×1.0 cm, respectively. Neurinoma was evident in 11 patients, meningioma in four cases and neurofibroma in one case. Three cases improved from Frankel grade B to C, five cases improved from grade C to D and seven cases improved from grade D to grade E. All patients were followed up for a period of 6–40 months, with a mean follow-up time of 23.7 months. None of the patients exhibited tumor recurrence or spinal instability. The mean bleeding volume of patients that underwent hemilaminectomy and laminectomy was 275 and 475 ml, respectively. The advantages of hemilaminectomy are minor invasion, less bleeding and retention of spinal stability. In general, hemilaminectomy for the excision of IDEM tumors has a satisfactory outcome.
PMCID: PMC3997689  PMID: 24765198
intradural extramedullary tumors; hemilaminectomy; microsurgery; Frankel grade; spinal stability
12.  Removal of Intradural-Extramedullary Spinal Cord Tumors with Unilateral Limited Laminectomy 
Total laminectomy for the removal of intradural-extramedullary spinal cord tumors has been used widely, but postoperative complications often develop, such as kyphosis, spinal instability, and persistent back pain. In this study, we evaluated seven patients with intradural-extramedullary spinal cord tumors with respect to the value of unilateral limited laminectomy. Our cases included six schwannomas, and one meningioma. The cervical region was involved in four cases, the thoracolumbar region in two cases, and the lumbar region in one case. The rationale for choosing a unilateral approach is to preserve musculoligamentous attachments and posterior bony elements as much as possible. The patients were mobilized on the third postoperative day and preoperative neurological symptoms were recovered within a few weeks. We did not observe any complication relating to unilateral limited laminectomy and at follow-up evaluation (at 3 and 12 months postoperatively), none of the patients showed spinal deformity or spinal instability. We think that the unilateral limited laminectomy is a safe and efficient technique for the treatment of intradural-extramedullary spinal cord tumors. We suggest that this technique is one of the best treatments for these tumors.
PMCID: PMC2588222  PMID: 19096602
Laminectomy; Intradural extramedullary spinal cord neoplams
13.  Minimally Invasive Resection of an Extradural Far Lateral Lumbar Schwannoma with Zygapophyseal Joint Sparing: Surgical Nuances and Literature Review 
Case Reports in Medicine  2014;2014:739862.
Introduction. Spinal schwannomas are benign nerve sheath tumors. Completely extradural schwannomas of the lumbar spine are extremely rare lesions, accounting for only 0,7–4,2% of all spinal NSTs. Standard open approaches have been used to treat these tumors, requiring extensive muscle dissection, laminectomy, radical foraminotomy, and facetectomy. In this paper the authors present the case of a minimally invasive resection of a completely extradural schwannoma. Operative technique literature review is presented. Material & Methods. A 50-year-old woman presented with progressive complains of chronic right leg pain and paresthesia. The magnetic resonance imaging revealed a giant well-encapsulated dumbbell-shaped extradural lesion at the L3-L4 level. The patient underwent a minimally invasive gross total resection of the tumor using a tubular expandable retractor system. Results. The patient had complete resolution of radiculopathy in the immediate postoperative period and she was discharged home, neurologically intact, on the second postoperative day. Postoperative MRI demonstrated no evidence of residual tumor. At latest follow-up (18 months) the patient remains asymptomatic. Conclusion. Although challenging, this minimally invasive procedure is safe and effective, being an appropriate alternative, with many potential advantages, to the open approach.
PMCID: PMC4189855  PMID: 25328530
14.  Minimally invasive surgery for benign intradural extramedullary spinal meningiomas: experience of a single institution in a cohort of elderly patients and review of the literature 
Meningiomas of the spine are the most common benign intradural extramedullary lesions and account for 25%–46% of all spinal cord tumors in adults. The goal of treatment is complete surgical resection while preserving spinal stability. Usually, these lesions occur in the thoracic region and in middle-aged women. Clinical presentation is usually nonspecific and the symptoms could precede the diagnosis by several months to years, especially in older people, in whom associated age-related diseases can mask the tumor for a long time. We report a series of 30 patients, aged 70 years or more, harboring intradural extramedullary spinal meningiomas. No subjects had major contraindications to surgery. A minimally invasive approach ( hemilaminectomy and preservation of the outer dural layer) was used to remove the tumor, while preserving spinal stability and improving the watertight dural closure. We retrospectively compared the outcomes in these patients with those in a control group subjected to laminectomy or laminotomy with different dural management. In our experience, the minimally invasive approach allows the same chances of complete tumor removal, while providing a better postoperative course than in a control group.
PMCID: PMC3526880  PMID: 23271902
spinal meningioma; elderly; hemilaminectomy; outer dural layer; inner dural layer; minimally invasive surgery
15.  Less invasive approaches for the treatment of cervical schwannomas: our experience 
European Spine Journal  2011;21(5):887-896.
The purpose of our paper is to illustrate our experience with minimally invasive approaches for the treatment of cervical schwannomas. Moreover, a brief review of the literature was conducted.
All data regarding patients treated for cervical schwannomas were retrospectively revised. Site, size and extension of the lesions and preoperative neurological status were obtained through re-examination of neuroimaging and clinical records. Postoperative clinical examinations and radiological images were available for all patients. The clinical course was documented using the visual analog scale (VAS), Karnofsky score (KPS) and the Klekamp–Samii score system.
Sixteen patients harboring cervical schwannomas were treated from 2003 to 2009. Hemilaminectomy was performed in eight cases, subtotal hemilaminectomy in four cases, interlaminar fenestration in two cases, osteoplastic hemilaminotomy and laminoplasty in one case each. Postoperative neuroimaging revealed complete removal of the lesion and no signs of spinal instability. At discharge, neurological improvement was observed in 14 patients and all patients demonstrated reduction of VAS score and improvement of KPS and Klekamp–Samii’s score.
Minimal access procedures are increasingly gaining popularity but their use is poorly described in the treatment of cervical tumors. Less invasive approaches may effectively be used instead of traditional laminectomy in the treatment of cervical tumors, especially schwannomas, providing less iatrogenic traumatism and preventing postsurgical spinal instability. Modern neuroimaging allows adequate preoperative planning and microsurgical techniques provide adequate execution of the surgical act. The procedure has to be tailored case by case considering the specific lesional features and the individual anatomical situation.
PMCID: PMC3337896  PMID: 22179753
Cervical schwannomas; Minimally invasive technique; Laminectomy; Hemilaminectomy; Laminoplasty; Hemilaminoplasty; Interlaminar fenestration
16.  Thoracic Intramedullary Schwannoma Accompanying by Extramedullary Beads-Like Daughter Schwanommas 
Thoracic intramedullary schwannomas are rare spinal cord tumors. Most of these tumors have been reported as a single lesion in the spinal cord. The authors report the first case of intramedullary schwannoma accompanying by extramedullary beads-like daughter masses of the thoracic spine. A 68-year-old male presented with walking disturbance and decreased sensation below T10 dermatome. Imaging workup revealed an intramedullary mass at T6 and T7. T6 and T7 laminectomy and mass removal were performed. Intraoperatively, extramedullary beads-like daughter masses along the nerve roots adjacent to intramedullary mass were identified. Total removal of intramedullary lesion and partial resection of extramedullary masses were done. Histological analysis confirmed the diagnosis of schwannoma. The patient could ambulate independently at postoperative 1 month without any neurological sequelae. The authors experienced a surgical case of intramedullary schwannoma accompanying by extramedullary beads-like same pathologies in the thoracic spine.
PMCID: PMC3115155  PMID: 21716630
Neurilemmoma; Intramedullary lesion; Spinal cord neoplasm
17.  Unilateral hemilaminectomy for patients with intradural extramedullary tumors 
A modified hemilaminectomy was introduced in an attempt to explore the operative techniques and the values of the limited approach to spinal cord tumors. Forty-five consecutive patients with intradural extramedullary lesions, who underwent modified hemilaminectomy, were studied retrospectively. The intraspinal tumors were removed via the limited bone window with a 3.3-cm mean length (range: 2.0–6.5 cm) and a 1.2-cm mean width (range: 0.6–1.5 cm), in which the inner parts of the medial and lateral laminae were mostly undercut for wider view. Spinal lesions were cervical in 21 cases, thoracic in 12 cases, lumbar in 10 cases, and multiple in 2 cases. Forty-three cases were completely excised via hemilaminectomy alone. Two subjects with dumbbell neurinoma underwent two-stage tumor removal via anterolateral cervical approach following hemilaminectomy. With respect to neurological status, the percentage of good Frankel scale (D+E grade) was markedly improved from 22.2% on admission to 93.3% at follow-up. At the median 26-month follow-up evaluation by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), none of the subjects showed spinal deformity or instability. By preserving musculoligamentous attachments and posterior bony elements as much as possible, the modified approach is minimally invasive and may be routinely used to remove intradural and extramedullary tumors, especially in patients with meningiomas and neurinomas.
PMCID: PMC3134846  PMID: 21726065
Hemilaminectomy; Spinal cord tumors; Microsurgery
18.  Castleman’s disease in the retroperitoneal space mimicking a paraspinal schwannoma: a case report 
Castleman’s disease is a rare disease characterized by lymph node hyperplasia. Its occurrence in the retroperitoneal space has rarely been reported, making its preoperative diagnosis difficult. Here, we report a case of retroperitoneal Castleman’s disease, which radiologically resembled paraspinal schwannoma.
Case presentation
A 33-year-old Japanese man with epigastric discomfort underwent abdominal ultrasonic examination revealing a solid mass next to the right kidney. Computed tomography demonstrated a well-circumscribed mass with central calcification in the right psoas muscle. Because the mass presented a dumbbell-like shape extending to the intervertebral foramen, neurogenic tumor was suspected. Both iodine-123 metaiodobenzylguanidine and gallium-67 scintigraphies were negative in the mass, whereas thallium-201 mildly accumulated in the tumor, suggesting blood flow to the tumor. Positron emission tomography revealed accumulation of fluorine-18-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose in the tumor at a standard uptake value of 4.7, whereas no other abnormal uptake suggestive of metastatic lesion was noted. On the basis of imaging studies, we mostly suspected paraspinal schwannoma, although malignancy was not completely excluded. Angiography showed feeding vessels from the right lumbar arteries, which were embolized with porous gelatin particles in order to reduce intraoperative bleeding. Surgical resection was performed using a retroperitoneal approach, which revealed the tumor in the swollen psoas muscle. Intraoperative pathological examination of a frozen section revealed no evidence of malignancy; thus, marginal excision of the tumor was performed. The tumor adhered tightly to surrounding muscle tissues, resulting in 940 g of intraoperative blood loss. The pathological examination demonstrated infiltration of lymphocytes surrounding small germinal centers with extensive capillary proliferation. Immunostaining revealed that proliferated lymphocytes were CD3-negative and CD79a-positive.
Although a dumbbell-shaped mass in a paraspinal region is indicative of a schwannoma for orthopedic surgeons, the possibility of Castleman’s disease should be considered if a central low-signal area in fissured and a radial pattern is detected on computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. Appropriate preparation for massive bleeding during the treatment of Castleman’s disease, including angiography and embolization, would be helpful for performing surgical procedures safely.
PMCID: PMC3663832  PMID: 23702327
Castleman’s disease; Dumbbell shape; Paraspinal schwannoma; Soft-tissue sarcoma
19.  Ancient schwannoma of lumbar spine and review of the literature on paraspinal tumors, the role of preoperative biopsy: a case report 
Cases Journal  2009;2:9325.
Schwannomas are rare encapsulated tumors that derive from the nerve sheath and should be removed due to their infrequent, but existent possibility of malignancy.
Case presentation
We report a case of a mass located in the L5 lumbar spine in a 42 year old man, presented with intermittent lumbar pain. Ultrasound, CT and MRI were used to examine the characteristics of the lesion. Fine needle aspiration showed cytologic characteristics of benign schwannoma and final histological diagnosis was ancient schwannoma. An extraperitoneal approach, through a left paramedian incision was used to approach the site of the mass. The lesion originated from the nerve root of the L4-L5 lumbar spinal space and a complete excision was achieved.
A great variety of tumors should be differentiated when a paraspinal mass is discovered, including neurogenic, neuroendocrine and vascular tumors, as well as malignancies, cystic and inflammatory masses. Fine needle aspiration is a useful and reliable tool in the preoperative evaluation of paraspinal masses. A review of the literature is also presented.
PMCID: PMC2806391  PMID: 20072675
20.  Giant schwannoma with extensive scalloping of the lumbar vertebral body treated with one-stage posterior surgery: a case report 
Schwannoma is a relatively common benign spinal cord and/or cauda equina tumor; however, giant cauda equina schwannoma with extensive scalloping of the lumbar vertebral body is a rare pathology, and the treatment strategy, including the use of surgical procedures, is controversial. In this report, we present a rare case of a giant lumbar schwannoma of the cauda equina with extremely large scalloping of the vertebral body, and we discuss the surgical strategy we used to treat this pathology.
Case presentation
A 42-year-old Japanese man presented to our department with complaints of a gait disturbance and muscle weakness in the left lower limb. His muscle strength in the proximal part of the left lower limb was grade 2 or 3/5, and he exhibited a mild urinary disturbance on the first visit. X-ray and computed tomography myelography of the lumbar spine showed an extremely large erosive lesion at the L3 vertebral body. Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine showed a large soft-tissue mass in the spinal canal at L2-L3 and the vertebral body at L3. A one-stage complete tumor resection and instrumented circumferential fusion were performed via a posterior approach, and a good outcome was achieved after the surgery.
We performed one-stage posterior surgery in a patient with a giant cauda equina schwannoma with extensive scalloping of the vertebral body, and a good post-operative outcome was achieved.
PMCID: PMC4307628  PMID: 25495513
Giant cauda equina tumor; Posterior surgery; Scalloping lesion; Schwannoma; Transdural approach
21.  Spinal Schwannoma; Analysis of 40 Cases 
This study is to report our experience of 40 cases of spinal schwannoma.
From 1995 to 2006, medical records were retrospectively reviewed in 40 cases of spinal schwannoma.
We treated 40 spinal schwannomas in 38 (22 male and 16 female) patients. The mean age was 50.2. Four cases were sited in the cervical spine, 11 cases in the thoracic spine, and 25 cases in the lumbar spine. Two patients showed recurrences. Thirty-eight cases were intradural-extramedullary type and 2 cases were extradural. Two cases (5%) including 1 recurred case had no postoperative motor improvement. Ninety-five percents of patients improved on postoperative motor grade.
Spinal schwannoma is mostly benign and extramedullary tumor. There were 2 recurred cases (5%) that had history of previous subtotal removal at first operation and had shown worse prognosis compared with the cases without recurrence. To reduce the recurrence of spinal schannoma, total excision of tumor mass should be done.
PMCID: PMC2588243  PMID: 19096620
Spinal schwannoma; Recurrence; Laminoplasty
22.  Primary intraosseous malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor of spine with a giant paraspinal and retrospinal subcutaneous extension 
According to World Health Organization (WHO) classification of tumors, malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) encompass the tumors, which were previously termed as malignant schwannoma, neurogenic sarcoma, and neurofibrosarcoma. These are rare tumors constituting only 5% of all malignant soft tissue tumors. As per their name, they arise from the malignant proliferation of cells forming sheath of a nerve root. They cause spinal cord compression, secondary changes in the surrounding bone with variable amount of tumor tissue going into the paraspinal space. However, purely intraosseous origin of the MPNST with no visible connection with a nerve root or dura is rare and few cases have been described in the literature.
Case Description:
We present a primary intraosseous MPNST arising from the body of a thoracic spine with a minimal intraspinal component. However, there was a huge tumor part occupying the paraspinal and retrospinal region. The latter component was so large that it extended to lie just beneath the skin. The intraspinal component was confined to only one level. The giant extraspinal part was spanning multiple corresponding spinal level. We could not find such presentation in the literature.
Gross total removal (GTR) followed by adjuvant chemo-radiotherapy is the optimal treatment for MPNST of spine. In case of multiple laminectomy or gross spinal instability, spinal instrumentation makes the treatment protocol complete.
PMCID: PMC3551491  PMID: 23372973
Intraosseous; malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor; paraspinal; spine
23.  Influence of graded facetectomy and laminectomy on spinal biomechanics 
European Spine Journal  2003;12(4):427-434.
Facetectomy and laminectomy are techniques for decompressing lumbosacral spinal stenosis. Resections of posterior bony or ligamentous parts normally lead to a decrease in stability. The degree of instability depends on the extent of resection, the loading situation and the condition of the intervertebral discs. The correlation between these parameters is not well understood. In order to investigate how these parameters relate to one another, a three-dimensional, non-linear finite element model of the lumbosacral spine was created. Intersegmental rotations, intradiscal pressures, stresses, strains and forces in the facet joints were calculated while simulating an intact spine as well as different extents of resection (left and bilateral hemifacetectomy, hemilaminectomy and bilateral laminectomy, two-level laminectomy), disc conditions (intact and degenerated) and loading situations (pure moment loads, standing and forward bending). The results of the modelling showed that a unilateral hemifacetectomy increases intersegmental rotation for the loading situation of axial rotation. Expanding the resection to bilateral hemifacetectomy increases intersegmental rotation even more, while further resection up to a bilateral laminectomy has only a minor additional effect. Hemilaminectomy and laminectomy only differ in their effect for ventriflexion and muscle-supported forward bending. Two-level laminectomy increases the intersegmental rotation only for standing. Degenerated discs result in smaller intersegmental rotations and higher disc stresses at the respective levels. Decompression procedures affect the examined biomechanical parameters less markedly in degenerated than in intact discs. Resection of posterior bony or ligamentous elements has a stronger influence on the amount than on the distribution of stresses and deformations in a disc. It has only a minor effect on the biomechanical behaviour of the adjacent region. Spinal stability is decreased after a laminectomy for forward bending, and after a two-level laminectomy for standing. For axial rotation, spinal stability is decreased even after a hemifacetectomy. Patients should therefore avoid excessive axial rotation after such a treatment.
PMCID: PMC3467787  PMID: 12720068
Biomechanics; Lumbosacral spine; Finite element method; Laminectomy; Facetectomy
24.  Surgical Results of Intradural Extramedullary Tumors 
Clinics in Orthopedic Surgery  2009;1(2):74-80.
To report the treatment results of 12 patients who underwent a total excision of intradural extramedullary tumors.
Twelve cases of histopathologically confirmed intradural extramedullary tumors were treated surgically between February 2002 and March 2005. There were 8 males and 4 females with an average age of 42.6 years. The mean postoperative follow-up period was 24.2 months. The histopathological findings, locations of the tumors, and clinical results were analyzed. The neurological findings obtained during the preoperative stage and the postoperative follow-up were evaluated according to the Frankel classification.
The histopathological results are as follows: 4 cases of a meningioma, 4 cases of a schwannoma, 2 cases of an epidermoid cyst, 1 case of an arachnoid cyst, and 1 case of an ependymoma. The locations of the tumors were as follows: 7 cases in the thoracic region, 4 cases in the lumbar region, and 1 case in the cervical region. At the final follow-up, a 2-grade and 1-grade improvement was observed in 1 and 7 cases, respectively. There were no changes in the Frankel grade in 4 cases. The preoperative neurological deficit improved within 8 postoperative weeks in most cases and within 1 postoperative year in all cases. Postoperatively, there were 2 cases of cerebrospinal fluid leakage and 2 cases of paresthesia.
Intradural extramedullary tumors detected by MRI are mostly benign and good clinical results can be obtained when treated surgically. Therefore, more active surgical approaches by orthopedic surgeons are recommended to decrease morbidity.
PMCID: PMC2766757  PMID: 19885058
Intradural; Extramedullary; Tumor
25.  Clinical Analysis of 21 Cases of Spinal Cord Ependymoma : Positive Clinical Results of Gross Total Resection 
To evaluate the clinical results of gross total resection in the surgical approach to spinal ependymoma.
Between June 1995 and May 2009, 13 males and 8 females (mean age 34) diagnosed with intramedullary or extramedullary spinal ependymoma were surgically treated at our centre. The neurological and functional state of each patient were evaluated according to the modified McCormick scale.
The average follow-up duration was 54 months (ranging from 12 to 168 months). The locations of the lesions were: thoracic region (4, 19%), lumbar region (7, 34%), cervical region (4, 19%), cervicothoracic region (3, 14%) and conus medullaris (3, 14%). Four patients (19%) had deterioration of neurological function in the early postoperative period. The neurological function of three patients was completely recovered at the 6th postoperative month, while that of another patient was recovered at the 14th month. In the last assessment of neurological function, 20 patients (95%) were assessed as McCormick grade 1. No perioperative complications developed in any of our patients. In one patient's 24-month assessment, tumour recurrence was observed. Re-operation was not performed and the patient was taken under observation.
Two determinants of good clinical results after spinal ependymoma surgery are a gross total resection of the tumour and a good neurological condition before the operation. Although neurological deficits in the early postoperative period can develop as a result of gross total tumour resection, significant improvement is observed six months after the operation.
PMCID: PMC2836443  PMID: 20224707
Ependymoma; Intramedullary ependymoma; Intramedullary tumour; Functional outcome

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