Study design: The authors report the ninth case in the literature of a primary intradural extramedullary ependymoma of the spinal cord.
Objective: To discuss surgical treatment and the physiopathologic hypothesis of this localization on the basis of the results of the present study and a review of the literature.
Summary of background data: Ependymoma is a glial tumor known to arise in the central nervous system. Intradural extramedullary location of this neoplasm has been exceptionally described previously.
Methods: A 43-year-old woman was admitted to the authors' institution with an history of progressive paraplegia. Neurologic examination showed sensory loss below T1 and bladder disturbances. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed an enhanced thoracic intradural extramedullary tumor, extending from T1-T8. No other lesion in the central nervous system was found. Emergency surgical resection was performed.
Results: Surgery gave confirmation of an encapsulated extramedullary tumor without attachment to the spinal cord or to the dura mater. Total removal was achieved under microscope. The postoperative course was uneventful, with complete neurologic recovery 3 months later. The patient has been well for 24 months of follow-up evaluation, without evidence of recurrence on magnetic resonance images. Histologic examination revealed the tumor as a benign ependymoma.
Conclusion: The encapsulated feature, the lack of attachment to the central nervous system, and the absence of other neoplastic processes within the brain or the spinal cord suggested that this lesion is a primary tumor developed from ectopic ependymal cells.