Management of Myelopathy due to Anterior Soft-Tissue Compression in Vertebral Hemangioma

World Neurosurg. 2021 Nov:155:e1-e8. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2021.06.059. Epub 2021 Jun 18.


Objective: Vertebral hemangiomas are benign but highly vascular lesions and are one of the most common lesions of the vertebral column. Anterior soft-tissue compression of spinal cord due to vertebral body hemangioma is challenging to manage. Our objective was to assess long-term clinical and radiologic effects of direct transpedicular absolute alcohol embolization, laminectomy, and short-segment instrumented fusion on resolution of extraosseous epidural soft tissue and improvement in myelopathy in cases of vertebral hemangioma causing anterior soft-tissue compression.

Materials and methods: This was a retrospective analysis that included patients with single-level vertebral hemangioma with anterior intraspinal soft-tissue growth causing spinal cord compression and clinical features of myelopathy between June 2007 and June 2019 at authors' institute. Transpedicular vertebral body injection of absolute alcohol, laminectomy, and pedicle screw rod instrumentation was performed in all patients. Clinicoradiologic outcomes of surgery were noted. We proposed a grading system for the extent of anterior extraosseous epidural soft-tissue compression.

Results: In total, 14 patients were included in study. Their mean age was 28.4 ± 14.4 years. Mean follow-up duration was 67.5 ± 36.2 months. All patients had preoperative radiologic grade 4 compression. Postoperative radiologic grading improved to grade 1 in 4 (28.6%), grade 2 in 8 (57.1%), and grade 3 in 2 (14.3%). All the patients improved neurologically after surgery. Eleven patients improved to American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) grade E, 2 improved to ASIA D, and 1 improved to ASIA C at the last follow-up visit.

Conclusions: Vertebral hemangiomas with anterior extraosseous epidural extension causing spinal canal compromise and myelopathy can be managed with direct transpedicular ethanol embolization, laminectomy, and short-segment instrumented fusion with resolution of the extraosseous soft tissue and improvement in myelopathy. The procedure is relatively simple, cost effective, and has a good outcome.

Keywords: Anterior epidural compression; Compressive myelopathy; Ethanol embolization; Vertebral hemangioma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hemangioma / etiology
  • Hemangioma / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Compression / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Compression / surgery*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / surgery*
  • Spinal Neoplasms / complications
  • Spinal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult