Spinal intramedullary cysticercosis

Neurosurgery. 1997 Jan;40(1):82-7. doi: 10.1097/00006123-199701000-00018.


Objective: Spinal intramedullary cysticercosis is an uncommon manifestation of neurocysticercosis. We review our experience with eight cases of intramedullary cysticercosis.

Methods: Eight patients who were surgically treated for spinal intramedullary cysticercosis between 1982 and 1991 were retrospectively reviewed, and the final outcomes were assessed.

Results: In six patients, the cysticercosis involved the thoracic cord, whereas in the other two, the cysticercosis was cervical in location. Only one patient had multiple soft tissue calcifications, as revealed by plain radiography. Myelography indicated an intramedullary lesion in each of seven patients; two of the seven patients had partial myelographic block, suggesting the segmental nature of the lesion. Cerebrospinal fluid studies were noncontributory. One patient had three cysts, whereas the other seven had one cyst each. Four patients had adjacent soft purulent materials, which were revealed by histopathological examination to be granulation tissue. The neurological statuses of seven patients improved after surgery. Six patients were followed up for a mean of 30.6 months (3 mo-5 yr). Three could resume their previous occupations, two others could manage their daily activities, and one required only minimal assistance for daily activities.

Conclusion: The outcome of intramedullary cysticercosis is not as dismal as reported earlier, and patients with paraplegia also have favorable outcomes. A preoperative diagnosis of cysticercosis can be suspected in an endemic area in the presence of multiple soft tissue calcifications and segmental lesions revealed by myelography or magnetic resonance imaging studies.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification
  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cysticercosis / diagnosis
  • Cysticercosis / pathology
  • Cysticercosis / surgery*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelography
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Spinal Cord / surgery
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / surgery*