Background: We report the case of an extramedullary pathologically proven hemangioblastoma of the conus medullaris. As spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas most commonly present with a conus medullaris syndrome, our presentation of the MRI, myelographic, and angiographic findings of this unique lesion may be useful in differentiating these two entities.
Clinical material: We report the case of a 57 year old woman with a two year history of progressive low back and right lower extremity pain and weakness. Spinal MRI and myelography demonstrated serpiginous vasculature on the dorsum of the spinal cord consistent with either a vascular tumor or malformation. Selective spinal angiography was thus undertaken by the neuroendovascular team which revealed a tumor nodule consistent with vascular tumor. T12-L1 laminectomy was performed and a 6 mm vascularized tumor was found in the intradural extramedullary compartment adjacent to the conus medullaris. The tumor was completely removed and pathological analysis was consistent with hemangioblastoma.
Conclusion: This report documents a unique location for extramedullary spinal hemangioblastomas. Although both MRI and myelography are helpful in studying these lesions, angiography remains the gold standard in differentiating between vascular tumor and malformation. We suggest that the angiography be performed by a neurointerventional team to facilitate embolization, should this be warranted.