Long-term outcome after removal of spinal schwannoma: a clinicopathological study of 187 cases

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✓ Are spinal schwannomas as benign as we think? To what extent do patients recover? Are patients prone to develop late complications such as cystic myelopathy or symptomatic spinal deformity? Is their life expectancy compromised? In an effort to answer these questions, the authors analyzed the long-term outcome for 187 patients from one neurosurgical department with surgically treated spinal schwannoma. Median follow-up period was 12.9 years (2454 patient years). One-fifth of the patients considered themselves free of symptoms at follow-up examination. The most common late complaint was local pain (46%), followed by radiating pain (43%), paraparesis (31%), radicular deficit (28%), sensory deficit due to a spinal cord lesion (27%), and difficulty voiding (19%). Late complications occurred in 21% of the patient population, including cystic myelopathy (2%), spinal arachnoiditis (6%), spinal deformity (6%), and troublesome pain (7%). Life expectancy of the patients corresponded to that of the general population.

Article Information

Address reprint requests to: Matti Seppälä, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, Helsinki University Hospital, Topeliuksenk 5, 00260 Helsinki, Finland.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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    Bar graph showing distribution of age at diagnosis in 187 spinal schwannomas patients by sex.

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    Graph showing cumulative observed and expected survival rates of 187 spinal schwannoma patients by sex.

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