Meningiomas of the spinal canal are rare, in contrast to their cranial counterparts. This study reports on the dominant features of spinal meningiomas before and after treatment. We treated 30 patients (23 female) with meningiomas of the spinal canal from 1992 to 2003. The mean age was 68 (range: 43–91). Upon admission, 26 patients presented with a marked neurological deficit (11 paraparesis, 9 motor weakness, 4 myelopathic ataxia, 1 quadriplegia, and 1 cauda equina syndrome). Two patients had sensory deficits, and two had pain only. The distribution of the tumors was as follows: 8 cases were cranio-cervical, 1 case was cervical, 6 cases were at the cervico-thoracic junction, 9 cases were of the thoracic spine, 5 cases were of the thoracolumbar spine, and 1 case was of the lumbar spine. Five cases also had intracranial manifestations. The mean interval between the onset of the first symptoms and treatment was 12 months. All cases were treated via (hemi)-laminectomy for complete removal of the tumor and occasionally via duraplasty. After a mean follow-up of 3 years, symptoms had improved by 3 points (on a 5-point scale) in 3 cases, by 2 points in 7 cases, and by 1 point in 12 cases; 7 cases were unchanged, and 1 case had worsened by 1 point. We observed 3 local recurrences. One case developed manifestations at a different site. Spinal meningiomas are often diagnosed late, after they have already caused major neurological deficits. Nevertheless, owing to their benign character, the outcome is favorable when treated appropriately. The outcome depends above all on the initial neurological status. The worse the deficit is, the less probable it is that the patient will recover neurologically.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.