Objective: Intramedullary hemangioblastomas are rare tumors, accounting for just 3% of all intraspinal neoplasms. The purpose of this study is to define the occurrence of isolated intramedullary hemangioblastomas and to analyze the role of the radiological studies and surgery for these lesions.
Methods: The charts of 19 consecutive patients operated on for isolated spinal intramedullary hemangioblastoma were reviewed. Preoperatively, all patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging and nine underwent spinal angiography. For all patients, the surgical approach was via posterior laminectomy.
Results: Our study sample comprised 6 women and 13 men, with an average age of 31.5 years (range, 16-75 yr). The mean prodrome was 20.8 months. Pain was the most common complaint. In all cases, the neoplasms were associated with a syrinx or edema. Gross total resection was achieved in all patients. At last follow-up examination (mean, 50.1 mo), 13 patients (68%) had improved and 6 patients (32%) had stabilized as compared with their preoperative clinical status.
Conclusion: Isolated intramedullary hemangioblastomas typically have an indolent clinical course. These tumors have characteristic imaging properties on magnetic resonance imaging and angiography. Surgical removal of these lesions results in excellent long-term functional outcome.