Do Tumour Size, Type and Localisation Affect Resection Rate in Patients with Spinal Schwannoma?

Background and Objectives: Spinal schwannomas are benign tumours that can present with various symptoms such as pain, radiculopathy and neurological deficit. Gross total resection (GTR) is of key importance for local recurrence. The aim of this study is to describe the clinical characteristics, resection rate, clinical outcome, as well as tumour recurrence, in patients with non-syndromic spinal schwannomas and to clarify which factors affect the resection rate.

Materials and Methods: Patients with non-syndromic spinal schwannomas that underwent surgical resection between January 2009 and December 2018 at a single institution were included. Demographic parameters, clinical symptoms, tumour localisation and size, surgical approach and complications were noted. Factors influencing the extent of resection, the surgeon's decision regarding the approach and the occurrence of new postoperative deficits were evaluated. Results: Fifty patients (18 females) were included. The most common presenting symptom was radiculopathy (88%). The lumbar spine was the most commonly affected site (58%). Laminotomy (72%) was the preferred surgical approach overall and specifically for exclusively intraspinal schwannomas (p = 0.02). GTR was achieved in 76.0% (n = 38). In multivariate analysis, only tumour localisation within the spinal canal (p = 0.014) independently predicted GTR, whereas the type of approach (p = 0.50) and tumour volume (p = 0.072) did not. New postoperative persisting deficits could not be predicted by any factor, including the use and alteration of intraoperative neuromonitoring. Recurrence was observed in four cases (8%) and was significantly higher in cases with STR (p = 0.04).

Conclusions: In this retrospective study, GTR was solely predicted by tumour localisation within the spinal canal. The decision regarding the utilisation of different surgical approaches was solely influenced by the same factor. No factor could predict new persisting deficits. Tumour recurrence was higher in STR.


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