Endoscopic Management of Spinal Intradural Extramedullary Tumors

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Posterior midline laminectomy is associated with risks of postoperative instability, spinal deformity, extensive bilateral subperiosteal muscle stripping, partial or total facetectomy especially in foraminal tumor extension, increased cerebrospinal fluid leakage, and wound infection. Minimally invasive approaches with the help of a microscope or endoscope using hemilaminectomy have been found to be safe and effective. We report our initial experience of 18 patients using the endoscopic technique.

Material and Methods

A retrospective study of intradural extramedullary tumors extending up to two vertebral levels was studied. Pre- and postoperative clinical status, magnetic resonance imaging was done in all patients. The Destandau technique was used, and resection of ipsilateral lamina, medial part of the facet joint, base of the spinous process, and undercutting of the opposite lamina was performed. Dura repair was done using an endoscopic technique. Fibrin glue was used to reinforce repair in the later part of the study.


The sagittal and axial diameter of tumor ranged from 21 to 41 mm and 12 to 18 mm, respectively. There were four cervical, two cervicothoracic, five thoracic, three thoracolumbar, and four lumbar tumors, respectively. All 18 patients improved after total excision of tumor. Average duration of surgery and blood loss was 140 minutes and 60 mL, respectively. Postoperative stay and follow-up ranged from 3 to 7 days and 9 to 24 months, respectively.


Although the study is limited by the small number of patients with a short follow-up and is a technically demanding procedure, endoscopic management of intradural extramedullary tumors was an effective and safe alternative technique to microsurgery in such patients.

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