The Role of Concurrent Fusion to Prevent Spinal Deformity After Intramedullary Spinal Cord Tumor Excision in Children

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ObjectivesSpinal deformity is a common development after laminectomy and resection of pediatric intramedullary spinal cord tumors. Our objective is to compare the occurrence of postlaminectomy spinal deformity in children with intramedullary spinal cord tumors that underwent decompression with fusion at the time of surgery to those that did not undergo fusion.MethodsA retrospective chart review of 255 children with spinal cord tumors treated at 2 tertiary pediatric cancer centers between was performed. Of these, 52 patients with a biopsy-proven intramedullary spinal cord tumor had complete clinical records and radiographic data. Preoperative spinal alignment, surgical treatment, postoperative deformity, and risk factors for deformity were evaluated. All patients had at least 2-year follow-up.ResultsThere were 18 females and 34 males with an average age of 8.1±4.1 years. The average time to latest follow-up was 7.6±5.3 years. Moderate or severe postresection spinal deformity (scoliosis >25 degrees and/or sagittal plane abnormality >20 degrees requiring bracing or surgery) developed in 57% (21/37) of resections without fusion (laminectomy or laminoplasty alone), and in 27% (4/15) of those with fusion (P=0.05). Among skeletally mature children, 18 of 28 (64%) developed deformity after laminectomies and laminoplasties, compared with 22% (2/9) of the patients in the fusion group (P=0.03). Removal of >3 lamina (P=0.04) was associated with development of postoperative deformity.ConclusionsIn the surgical treatment of patients with intramedullary spinal cord tumors, those that undergo instrumentation or in situ fusion at the time of spinal cord tumor excision are significantly less likely to develop postresection spinal deformity.Level of Evidence3, Retrospective comparative study.

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