Extrathecal intraradicular nerve sheath tumor

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  • 1 Division of Neurosurgery, St. Andrea Hospital, Department of Neurological Sciences, Second Faculty of Medicine, “La Sapienza” University Medical School, Rome, Italy
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Object. The purpose of this study was to analyze the clinical profile of patients harboring extrathecal and intraradicular nerve sheath tumors (NSTs), located inside the sleeve of an extrathecal nerve root and very often within the proximal portion of the spinal nerve, and to evaluate the incidence of long-term dysfunction of the tumor-affected roots if resected. These tumors have not received particular attention in the literature.

Methods. A single-institution series of 16 patients who had undergone surgery for intraradicular NSTs during a 50-year period was selected retrospectively. Data pertaining to clinical features, tumor characteristics, and results of surgery were analyzed.

Conclusions. Extrathecal and intraradicular neurofibromas or schwannomas more frequently affect the lumbar and S-1 nerve roots, often producing root pain only. Selective en bloc enucleation sparing at least part of the motor rootlets is possible for small schwannomas of the extrathecal—preganglion segment of the radix, whereas total resection of the affected root is generally required for radical removal of neurofibromas and large schwannomas. In the authors' experience, neither deafferentation pain nor severe radicular weakness occurs after division of the nerve root harboring the tumor.

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