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Intramedullary spinal cord cavernous malformations (CMs) account for 5% of all CMs in the central nervous system and 5% to 12% of all spinal cord vascular lesions, yet their optimal management is controversial.To identify factors associated with the clinical progression of spinal cord CMs and quantify the range of surgical outcomes.Retrospective observational cohort study of 32 patients who underwent open surgical resection for spinal CMs, the majority of which presented to a dorsal or lateral pial surface, from 1996 to 2017 at a single institution. We evaluated outcomes as clinically improved, worsened, or unchanged against preoperative baseline; Frankel and Aminoff-Logue disability grades were also calculated.Mean age at presentation was 44.2 (range, 0.5-77 yr). Symptoms included sensory deficits (n = 26, 81%), loss of strength/coordination (n = 16, 50%), pain (n = 16, 50%), and bladder/bowel dysfunction (n = 6, 19%). Thoracic (n = 16, 50%) and cervical CMs (n = 16, 50%) were equally common, with overall mean size of 7.1 mm (range, 1-20 mm). Functional outcomes at last follow-up, compared to preoperative status for patients with >6 mo of follow-up, were improved in 6 (23%), unchanged in 19 (73%), and worsened in 1 (4%) patients. Preoperative Frankel grade and improved Frankel grade immediately following resection were strongly associated with improvement from baseline at long-term followup (P < .01).Gross total resection of symptomatic spinal cord CMs can prevent further neurological decline. Our experience suggests excellent long-term outcomes and minimal surgical morbidity following resection.
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