The traditional approach for cervical intramedullary lesions is laminectomy, but the procedure may result in spinal instability and spinal deformity. Unilateral multilevel interlaminar fenestration (UMIF) is an alternative minimally invasive approach that may have great advantages in preserving spinal stability. However its use in cervical intramedullary lesions is rare, and the indications, safety and limitations of this approach for cervical intramedullary lesions are still under investigation. We report five patients (three males, two females, age range 12-46 years) who were treated between 2010 and 2011 for cervical intramedullary lesions. The lesions included three ependymomas, one astrocytoma and one ependymal cyst, and the locations of the lesions were at the medulla-T2, C4-T1, C5-C7, C4-C7 and C6-C7. All of these lesions were completely removed through UMIF, and all patients had stable or improved neurological status after surgery. No recurrences or spinal deformities were detected during the follow-up period which ranged from 24 to 35 months (mean=27.4 months). UMIF is a feasible approach for selected cervical intramedullary lesions. This approach allows complete resection of multilevel lesions without increasing the risk of injury to the spinal cord, and minimizing the risk of postoperative spinal instability. The indications for and limitations of UMIF are discussed.
Keywords: Cervical intramedullary lesions; Hemilaminectomy; Laminectomy; Minimally invasive; Unilateral multilevel interlaminar fenestration.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.