What are the 3 types of spinal cord compression?
Extradural, intradural/extramedullary, intramedullary
Most common intrathecal tumor
Most common causes of malignant spinal cord compression
Lung CA > breast CA > prostate CA > kidney CA > lymphoma > myeloma
What is the most common type of spinal cord compression?
Extradural (80%) - most from metastases
What are the most common causes of extradural spinal cord compression?
Metastatic tumor, extradural abscess
What are the most common causes of intradural/extramedullary spinal cord compression?
Schwannoma > meningioma
What are the most common causes of intramedullary spinal cord compression?
Glioma (ependymoma > astrocytoma), syrinx
What 2 major presenting features are the hallmarks of spinal cord compression?
1. Pain (common early feature)
2. Neurologic deficit (esp. sensory level)
Describe ‘girdle’ pain
Pain radiating around chest wall 2/2 thoracic cord compression, with involvement of thoracic nerve roots
Flexion or extension of neck causing ‘electric shock’ or tingling radiating down through body to extremities; associated with cervical cord involvement
What do the neurological features of spinal cord compression consist of?
Progressive weakness, sensory disturbance, sphincter disturbance
Describe the pattern of weakness in spinal cord compression
‘Pyramidal’ pattern with flexor movements most severely affected and extensor movements (e.g. hip extension, knee extension, plantar flexion) preserved
What nerve root weakness will be demonstrated by a mass below T1 in the thoracic area?
NO clinically demonstrable weakness!
What pattern of weakness is seen with conus medullaris involvement? Cauda equina compression?
Conus medullaris – mixture of LMN and UMN signs
Cauda equina – LMN signs
At what level does the T4 dermatome lie? T7? T10?
T4 – nipples
T7 – xiphisternum
T10 – umbilicus
Hemisection causing contralateral impairment of pain and temperature sensation, with ipsilateral pyramidal weakness and impairment of joint position sense, vibration, and fine touch
Clinical signs of sphincter disturbance
Enlarged, palpable bladder (2/2 urinary retention), diminished perianal sensation, and decreased anal tone
Best imaging modality for spinal cord compression
Tx of spinal cord compression
Urgent decompression except for some malignant tumors (high-dose steroids and radiotherapy)
Surgical tx options for malignant spinal cord compression
Decompressive laminectomy (posterior approach) OR vertebrectomy and fusion (anterior approach)
Why are glucocorticoids often used prior to spinal cord decompression?
Reduce local edema
A poor prognosis for neurological recovery is suggested by how many hours of complete paraplegia?
Intrathecal tumor (e.g. schwannoma) extending through intervertebral foramen
Population most commonly affected by spinal meningiomas
Middle-aged or elderly with marked FEMALE predominance
Most common site for spinal meningioma
Most common site for ependymoma
Filum terminale leading to compression of cauda equina
Cauda equina compression sxs
Low back and leg pain, progressive leg weakness, saddle anesthesia, sphincter disturbance
Spinal cord ependymoma tx? Astrocystoma?
Ependymoma – macroscopic excision
Astrocytoma – NOT resectable; radiotherapy only
Central posterior cervical disc herniation presentation? Most common levels?
Sudden onset of severe neck pain with rapidly progressive paralysis (LMN features at level of compression and UMN below); usually C5/6 or C6/7
Why is the low thoracic region considered a ‘watershed’ area?
T8-L2 often largely supplied by a single unilateral radicular vessel (artery of Adamkiewicz); can contribute to disc degeneration