Long-term follow-up of intramedullary spinal cord tumors: A series of 202 cases

Antonino Raco, Viocenzo Esposito, Jacopo Lenzi, Manolo Piccirilli, Roberto Delfini, Giampaolo Cantore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To review a series of patients who underwent surgical removal of intramedullary spinal cord tumors, focusing on the long-term functional outcome, recurrence rates for the various tumors, and technical problems continually debated in neurosurgical practice. METHODS: From December 1972 to June 2003, 202 patients underwent removal of intramedullary tumors. Lesions were located in the cervical spinal cord in 61 patients (30%), at a dorsal site in 60 (29%), at a cervicodorsal site in 51 (25%), and in the medullary cone in 30 (15%). The most frequent histological tumor types were astrocytomas (86 patients, 42%) and ependymomas (68 patients, 34%). RESULTS: Of the 68 ependymomas, 55 (81 %) were completely removed and 13 (19%) incompletely removed. In 66% of the patients (42 patients), the presenting signs and symptoms remained unchanged at long-term follow-up; in 25% (16 patients), they improved; and in 9% (6 patients), the clinical status worsened. Of the 27 Grade I astrocytomas, 22 (81%) were completely removed and 5 (19%) incompletely removed. Functional assessment of the 23 patients available at "late" follow-up showed that 26% (6 of 23 patients) had improved, 9% (2 of 23 patients) had worsened, and 66% (15 of 23 patients) remained unchanged from preoperative status; Conversely, of the 41 Grade II astrocytomas, only 5 (12%) were completely removed, and 10% had improved. None of the 18 Grade III to IV astrocytomas could be completely removed. In 61% (11 of 18 patients), the postoperative functional status worsened. CONCLUSION: Determinant predictors of a good outcome after surgery for intramedullary spinal cord tumors are histological type of lesion, complete removal of the lesion, and a satisfactory neurological status before surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)972-979
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


  • Functional outcome
  • Intramedullary tumors
  • Long-term follow-up
  • Radical surgery
  • Recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Long-term follow-up of intramedullary spinal cord tumors: A series of 202 cases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this