Intramedullary mass lesion of the spinal cord in children of a developing milieu

Pediatr Neurosurg. 2004 Jan-Feb;40(1):16-22. doi: 10.1159/000076572.


A retrospective study of 22 children with intramedullary mass lesions (neoplastic and nonneoplastic) was performed to see the frequency of different histotypes of tumors/lesions and the functional outcome in Indian children. The age of the children varied from 1.5 to 16 years with a median of 8 years. The male to female ratio was 2.7:1. The children having a minimum follow-up of 3 months and a complete clinicopathological record were entered into this study. McCormick functional grading was applied retrospectively to assess the preoperative grade and postoperative functional outcome of the children. Histopathologically, these 22 cases were astrocytomas (n = 6, 27.3%), ependymomas (n = 3, 13.6%), dermoids (n = 3, 13.6%), epidermoids (n = 2, 9.1%), ependymal cysts (n = 2, 9.1%), and myxopapillary ependymoma, neurenteric cyst, ganglioglioma, teratoma, tuberculoma and anteriovenous malformation one each (4.55%). Near-total or gross-total resection was achieved in 13 (59%) and subtotal resection in 7 patients (32%), while complete excision of tuberculoma was achieved in 1 patient. Coagulation of perimedullary vessels was done in another single patient with anteriovenous malformations. Fourteen of the 22 cases having had functional grade IV or V preoperatively, improved to grade I or II (n = 7) and to grade III (n = 4, all astrocytomas) following surgery. Two patients died (1 within 2 days and 1 after 3 months due to recurrence of the tumor) and 1 case deteriorated at the follow-up of 4 months. Eight out of the 22 patients who had been admitted with functional grade II or III improved to grade I or II following surgery. The following conclusions were drawn after evaluation of these cases: (1) astrocytomas and ependymomas constituted only 50% of intramedullary tumors; (2) nonneoplastic, malformative tumors like dermoid and epidermoid showed a higher incidence (23%) in comparison with the Western World where all congenital intramedullary tumors (including dermoids and epidermoids) account for 5-8% only; (3) extremely rare cystic lesions like ependymal cyst and inflammatory granuloma may manifest as an intramedullary lesion; (4) even neurenteric cyst, though rare, may manifest as a pure intramedullary lesion without the stigmata of spinal dysraphism, and (5) delayed presentation was the cause of unfavorable outcome in a developing milieu.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medulla Oblongata / pathology*
  • Medulla Oblongata / radiation effects
  • Medulla Oblongata / surgery
  • Microsurgery
  • Motor Skills Disorders / etiology
  • Motor Skills Disorders / physiopathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / complications
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / therapy