Intradural spinal tumors in adults—update on management and outcome

  • Malte Ottenhausen
  • Georgios Ntoulias
  • Imithri Bodhinayake
  • Finn-Hannes Ruppert
  • Stefan Schreiber
  • Annette Förschler
  • John A. Boockvar
  • Andreas JödickeEmail author


Among spinal tumors that occur intradurally, meningiomas, nerve sheath tumors, ependymomas, and astrocytomas are the most common. While a spinal MRI is the state of the art to diagnose intradural spinal tumors, in some cases CT scans, angiography, CSF analyses, and neurophysiological examination can be valuable. The management of these lesions depends not only on the histopathological diagnosis but also on the clinical presentation and the anatomical location, allowing either radical resection as with most extramedullary lesions or less invasive strategies as with intramedullary lesions. Although intramedullary lesions are rare and sometimes difficult to manage, well-planned treatment can achieve excellent outcome without treatment-related deficits. Technical advances in imaging, neuromonitoring, minimally invasive approaches, and radiotherapy have improved the outcome of intradural spinal tumors. However, the outcome in malignant intramedullary tumors remains poor. While surgery is the mainstay treatment for many of these lesions, radiation and chemotherapy are of growing importance in recurrent and multilocular disease. We reviewed the literature on this topic to provide an overview of spinal cord tumors, treatment strategies, and outcomes. Typical cases of extra- and intramedullary tumors are presented to illustrate management options and outcomes.


Intradural Spinal Intramedullary Meningioma Ependymoma Astrocytoma Neurofibroma Schwannoma Dumbbell tumor 



The authors thank Alexander Bock, MD, Head of Department of Neuroradiology, Vivantes Klinikum Neukölln, Berlin, Germany, for close clinical cooperation and for providing MR images. We also thank Matthew Holt, Medical Illustrator, for the outstanding medical illustrations.



Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study, formal consent is not required.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants for whom identifying information is included in this article.

Supplementary material

10143_2018_957_MOESM1_ESM.flv (6.6 mb)
Video 1 Removal of a dumbbell-shaped cervical spinal schwannoma (C2/3) using a right-sided anterolateral approach (FLV 6770 kb)
10143_2018_957_MOESM2_ESM.flv (25.9 mb)
Video 2 En bloc removal of an intramedullary cervical ependymoma via a multi-level laminotomy by microsurgical dissection (FLV 26544 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malte Ottenhausen
    • 1
  • Georgios Ntoulias
    • 1
  • Imithri Bodhinayake
    • 2
  • Finn-Hannes Ruppert
    • 1
  • Stefan Schreiber
    • 1
  • Annette Förschler
    • 3
  • John A. Boockvar
    • 4
  • Andreas Jödicke
    • 1
    Email author return OK on get
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryVivantes Klinikum NeuköllnBerlinGermany
  2. 2.The Feinstein Institute for Medical ResearchManhassetUSA
  3. 3.Department of Radiology and NeuroradiologySchlossparkklinikBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Department of NeurosurgeryLenox Hill HospitalNew YorkUSA

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