Minimally invasive resection of intradural-extramedullary spinal neoplasms

Trent L. Tredway, Paul Santiago, Melody R. Hrubes, John K. Song, Sean D. Christie, Richard G. Fessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Spinal intradural-extramedullary neoplasms are uncommon lesions that usually cause pain or neurological deficit secondary to neural compression. Traditional treatment of these tumors includes open laminectomy with intradural resection. We describe an alternative minimally invasive surgical technique in a consecutive series of patients undergoing treatment for symptomatic lesions. METHODS: Six patients (four men, two women) presented with symptoms including pain (five out of six) and/or neurological deficit (two out of six) with radiographic evidence of intradural pathology. All patients underwent surgical resection using a minimally invasive, unilateral approach. Pain relief was analyzed using the visual analog scale and magnetic resonance imaging to evaluate the extent of resection. Traditional laminectomy for tumor resection disrupts the muscular, ligamentous, and bony structures of the spine, which may contribute to pain and instability. Minimally invasive resection of intradural tumors offers the option of reducing approach morbidity when resecting these lesions. Using a tubular retractor system (X-Tube, Medtronic Sofamor-Danek, Memphis, TN) and microscopic surgical techniques, we were able to resect different intradural lesions successfully. RESULTS: All patients underwent successful, complete resection of their intradural-extramedullary tumors. The average patient age was 47 years (range, 41-60 yr) with one cervical, one thoracic, and four lumbar lesions. The mean operative time was 247 minutes (range, 180-320 min), the estimated blood loss was 56 mLs (range, 40-75 mLs), and the hospital stay was 57 hours (range, 48-80 h). Histologically, five tumors were determined to be schwannomas and one was identified as a myxopapillary ependymoma. There were no complications associated with this surgical technique. Postoperative magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated complete resection in all cases. CONCLUSION: Intradural-extramedullary neoplasms can be safely and effectively treated with minimally invasive techniques. Potential reduction in blood loss, hospitalization and disruption to local tissues suggest that, in the hands of an experienced surgeon, this technique may present an alternative to traditional open tumor resection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)ONS-52-ONS-57
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Myxopapillary ependymoma
  • Schwannoma
  • Spinal neoplasms


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