Management of intramedullary spinal cord lesions: interdependence of the longitudinal extension of the lesion and the functional outcome
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To evaluate the impact of the longitudinal extension of intramedullary lesions on the neurological status and postoperative outcome. Forty-six patients operated in our Department between February 2004 and June 2007 have been included in this study. The patients were classified in two groups according to the longitudinal extension of the lesion over less than three vertebral segments (group A) and over exactly three or more vertebral segments (group B). The neurological status was assessed preoperatively, postoperatively and after 3 months and involved both the McCormick (McC) and Klekamp–Samii (KS) scales. The preoperative McC- and KS scores of the patients of group B were statistically significant lower (p < 0.038 and p < 0.027, respectively) than those of group A. Patients of both groups showed an initial postoperative clinical deterioration. The level of statistical significance was reached only in group B (group A McC p < 0.170, KS p < 0.105; group B McC p < 0.012, KS p < 0.020). The patients recovered well and no statistical difference was observed between the preoperative and the 3-month follow-up scores (group A McC p < 0.490, KS p < 0.705; group B McC p < 0.506, KS p < 0.709). Thus, patients with extended intramedullary lesions have a worse neurological status preoperatively, postoperatively and in the 3-month follow-up. The preoperative neurostatus is determinant for the outcome. Even in case of longitudinally extensive intramedullary lesions, early surgery is recommended since satisfactory results can be achieved.
KeywordsSpinal cord Intramedullary lesion Outcome
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