martedì 14 dicembre 2010

Myxopapillary ependymoma


Figure 1: Sagittal T1-weighted images reveals an isointense lobulated intradural mass at the level of the conus medullaris.
Figure 2: Sagittal T2-weighted images shows a hyperintense lobulated intradural mass extending from T11 through L2 with numerous small flow voids.
Figure 3: Sagittal T1 post-contrast images demonstrates intense enhancement of the intradural mass centered around the conus.

Diagnosis: Myxopapillary ependymoma

Myxopapillary ependymoma is a slow-growing tumor arising from the ependymal cells of the filum terminale. These tumors compromise 13% of all spinal ependymomas, and they occur almost exclusively in the conus, filum terminale, and cauda equina although extradural occurence in the sacrum and presacral region has also been reported.

The lesions tend to span two to four vertebral segments, and appear as a well-circumscribed intradural masses. In most cases the tumor is intrinsic to the conus medullaris but this is often difficult to recognize on imaging as the bulk of the mass is extramedullary. Typical MR characteristics include T1 isointensity, T2 hyperintensity, and avid enhancement on post-contrast images. As these tumors are prone to hemorrhage, a hypointensity at the tumor margin is often seen indicative of hemosiderin. Calcification and cyst formation within the mass are not infrequent.

On radiography and CT, vertebral changes can be seen which include widened interpediculate distance, thinned pedicles, posterior vertebral scalloping, and intervertebral foraminal widening due to tumor extension.

They are more common in males (M:F=2:1) with a mean age of 35 at diagnosis. Clinically, they present with back pain, paraparesis, radiculopathy, and occasionally bowel and bladder dysfunction. Because these symptoms can mimic those of disc herniation, there is often a delay in diagnosis. Treatment consists of surgical resection, and the prognosis is excellent with complete resection. Leptomeningeal seeding metastasis in myxopapillary variety is not as frequent as it is in classic spinal cord ependymomas and associated with poorer prognosis when present. Radiotheraphy after surgery improves outcome.

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