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Sarel J. Vorster and Gene H. Barnett

Although surgical resection of brain tumors has been performed for over a century, complications still occur with distressing frequency.

The authors propose a simple preoperative grading scheme to assess surgical risk for resection of primary and secondary intraaxial supratentorial brain tumors.

The authors retrospectively reviewed the clinical records, neuroimaging studies, and outcomes of 224 surgeries performed in 207 patients from January 1993 to December 1995 at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Brain Tumor Center. Subsequently, they considered and statistically analyzed multiple variables related to the patients and their lesions. Surgical risk was defined as any complication occurring within 30 days postoperatively, and was divided into transient operative complications, transient medical complications, and new sustained neurological deficits. Length of stay was also recorded. The overall incidence of complications was 10.6% and the mortality rate was 2.7%, with a median hospital stay of 3 days. Patient age greater than 60 years (p < 0.001), preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale scores of 50 or less (p < 0.03), previous irradiation (p < 0.001), tumor location in eloquent regions (p < 0.03), and depth of tumor invasion (p < 0.001) independently predicted complicated outcome or increased length of stay. Finally, the authors derived a simple five-tier grading scheme in which these patient risk factors are added together to obtain a grade of I to V that corresponds to outcome and length of hospital stay.

This grading scheme may be used to identify patients at higher risk and facilitate comparison of results between institutions and individual surgeons.

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Sarel J. Vorster, Richard A. Prayson and Joung H. Lee

✓ Solitary fibrous tumor (SFT) is a neoplasm first described as a tumor of mesenchymal origin involving soft tissues. The authors provide a review of the literature with detailed pathological analysis and radiological description of SFTs involving the central nervous system.

The authors report a rare case of a SFT of the thoracic spine in an adult man presenting with myelopathy. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a well-circumscribed, intradural, extramedullary mass at the T2–3 level. Histological examination demonstrated a proliferation of predominantly spindle-shaped cells with a collagen-matrix background. Immunohistochemical staining was positive for vimentin and CD34 and negative for S-100 and epithelial membrane antigen with an MIB-1 labeling index of 2.6%. Review of the literature revealed 10 cases in which this tumor, frequently found in the pleura, was involved in the central nervous system.

Although rare and their clinical significance as yet unknown, SFTs may be considered in the differential diagnosis of intradural spinal cord lesions. The natural history is also unknown, but these tumors appear to be biologically benign.