Symptomatic thoracic vertebral hemangioma: a case report and literature review

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004 Sep;85(9):1544-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2003.08.099.


Vertebral hemangiomas are relatively common, but those causing spinal cord compression are rare. A man in his early sixties with back pain that had not resolved with conservative treatment was seen in an outpatient physiatrist office. Subsequent workup with computed tomography scan showed a large hemangioma in the T5 vertebra extending to the posterior elements where his pain was located. Three weeks later, the patient had progressive weakness and numbness in his lower extremity. He subsequently underwent a T3-5 laminectomy, with a subtotal resection of the mass. He reported improvement in lower-extremity strength and sensation and completed a course of inpatient rehabilitation. Recognizing when to expect neurologic symptoms and the proper time to intervene can be very critical. From this case study and other similar instances, one can conclude that vertebral hemangiomas are not always benign and are capable of causing cord compression. Proper diagnosis and treatment may prevent the development of neurologic symptoms.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Back Pain / etiology
  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory
  • Hemangioma / complications
  • Hemangioma / diagnosis*
  • Hemangioma / surgery
  • Humans
  • Laminectomy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative
  • Paraparesis / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Compression / etiology
  • Spinal Neoplasms / complications
  • Spinal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Thoracic Vertebrae*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed