Foraminal syringomyelia: Suggestion for a grading system
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The standard treatment of foraminal syringomyelia includes foramen magnum decompression and duraplasty. Improvement or stabilization of the disease are achieved in most of cases. However, at least one third of patients are reported to receive little or no benefit.
In this paper we retrospectively reviewed a series of 40 consecutive foramen magnum decompressions in order to identify the possible pre-operative outcome predictors. Based on clinical evolution, neurological impairment and radiological features, a scale of severity was fixed and retrospectively tested. A pre-operative score was obtained for each patient and was correlated with the surgical results. Then a four level grading system was derived. All grade I and grade II patients achieved good results (improvement or stabilization), whereas grade III patients showed intermediate behaviour and grade IV invariably worsened. On this basis, surgical results of foramen magnum decompression might be further improved provided that a careful pre-operative selection is made.
KeywordsSyringomyelia foramen magnum decompression Chiari malformation arachnoiditis grading system
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