AbstractBACKGROUND:This is a retrospective study of patients with surgically treated, intramedullary cavernous malformations. We conducted the study to elucidate the outcomes of the patients, as well as potential pitfalls in their care. METHODS: A series of 12 patients underwent radical excision of intramedullary cavernous malformations between 1986 and 1996. All lesions were diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging. Although seven patients experienced recurrent episodes of pain and sensorimotor disturbances, the histories of the other five patients were relevant for slowly progressing deficits (mostly sensory).METHODS:Sixteen centers where resection, gamma knife radiosurgery, and/or radiation therapy were available provided management data on 203 patients with histologically benign meningiomas from the time of initial diagnosis through follow-up after radiosurgery. The timing of resections, parameters of radiosurgery, rates of tumor control, morbidity, and functional patient outcomes were studied. The median follow-up duration in this study was 3.5 years (maximum, 33 yr after presentation and 6 yr after radiosurgery).RESULTS:All cavernomas were completely resected. No deaths were recorded. In follow-up examinations (5-102 mo after discharge), there was no evidence of recurrence, either clinically or in control magnetic resonance imaging scans. In follow-up examinations, two patients demonstrated sensory deficits that were slightly more pronounced than the preoperative deficits. The postoperative neurological status of 3 of 12 patients was unchanged, compared with the preoperative status. The status of the remaining seven patients had improved. For four patients there was effective functional improvement, and for three others there was complete postoperative relief of pain. Deficits of the long tracts were less prone to recover.CONCLUSION:The clinical course of cavernous malformations may be difficult to distinguish from that of spinal dural arteriovenous malformations or focal demyelinating disease. In the latter case, even magnetic resonance imaging results could be deceptive. Radical resection of these malformations is feasible, with relatively low surgical morbidity, provided that the preoperative deficits of the patients are limited. Given the generally progressive course of the illness and the few acute catastrophic myelopathies, complete excision is advocated whenever malformations are symptomatic.
Neurosurgery – Oxford University Press
Published: Sep 1, 1998
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