Autograft-derived spinal cord mass in the cervical spine following transplantation with olfactory mucosa cells for traumatic spinal cord injury: case report

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  • Department of Neurosurgery, Duke University Hospital, Durham, North Carolina
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This study describes a patient with an autograft-derived spinal cord mass following transplantation of olfactory mucosa for treatment of cervical spine injury. The authors report the case of a 35-year-old man who suffered a complete spinal cord injury (SCI) at C5–6 in 2001. The patient underwent an olfactory mucosal cell implantation at the location of injury 4 years following initial trauma. Twelve years later, the patient presented with rapidly progressive decline in upper-extremity function as well as neuropathic pain. Imaging revealed a heterogeneously enhancing intramedullary mass from C3 to C7. At surgery, the patient was found to have a posttransplant mucinous mass. Each mucinous cyst was drained and a portion of the cyst wall was removed. Histological examination demonstrated ciliated epithelium-lined fibrous tissue, submucosal glands, and mucoid material, consistent with a transplant-derived tumor. This case report both documents a rare long-term complication of olfactory mucosal cell transplantation and serves as a cautionary tale encouraging prudent use of novel treatments in a vulnerable population of patients with severe SCI.

ABBREVIATIONS ASIA = American Spinal Injury Association; EMG = electromyography; SCI = spinal cord injury.

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Contributor Notes

Correspondence Theresa L. Williamson: Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC. theresa.williamson@duke.edu.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online November 6, 2020; DOI: 10.3171/2020.6.SPINE20251.

Disclosures The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.

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