Journal of neurosurgery. Spine

Intraspinal hemangioblastomas: analysis of 92 cases in a single institution: clinical article.

PMID 24836658


Intraspinal hemangioblastomas are relatively uncommon benign tumors. The surgical strategies remain controversial, and the risk factors with regard to clinical outcome are unclear. The purpose of this study was to analyze the clinical characteristics, imaging findings, surgical strategies, and functional outcomes associated with intraspinal hemangioblastomas. A series of 92 patients who underwent 102 operations for resection of 116 intraspinal hemangioblastomas at a single institution during 2007-2011 were consecutively enrolled in this study. Of these, 60 patients (65.2%) had sporadic hemangioblastomas and 32 (34.8%) had von Hippel-Lindau disease. Preoperatively, 13 patients underwent digital subtraction angiography (DSA), 15 patients underwent 3D CT angiography (3D CTA), and none underwent preoperative embolization. Clinical characteristics, imaging findings, and operative records were analyzed. The advantages and disadvantages of DSA and 3D CTA were compared. For identification of risk factors that affect prognosis, logistic analysis was performed. The male/female patient ratio was 1.8:1.0 (59 male and 33 female patients). Of the tumors, 41% were intramedullary, 37% were intramedullary-extramedullary, and 22% were primarily extramedullary. Three-dimensional CTA and DSA did not differ significantly in the ability to identify the feeding arteries (p = 1.000) and image qualities (p = 0.367). However, compared with 3D CTA, the effective x-ray dose of spinal DSA was 2.73 times higher and the mean amount of contrast media injected was 1.88 times higher. Spinal DSA was more time consuming (mean 120 minutes) than 3D CTA (scanning time < 1 minute). No complications were observed after 3D CTA; acute paraparesis developed in 1 patient after DSA. Gross-total resection was achieved for 109 tumors (94.0%), and resection was subtotal for 7 tumors. Mean duration of follow-up was 50 months (range 24-78 months). At the most recent follow-up visit, the functional outcome was improved for 38 patients (41.3%), remained stable for 40 (43.5%), and deteriorated for 14 (15.2%). Logistic analysis showed that subtotal resection was a risk factor affecting prognosis (p = 0.003, OR 12.833, 95% CI 2.429-67.806). The authors' study suggests that safe and effective treatment of intraspinal hemangioblastomas can be achieved for most patients, even without preoperative embolization. Gross-total resection, when safe to perform, leads to better outcomes. Compared with spinal DSA, 3D CTA is a promising technique because it is noninvasive, takes less time to perform, requires lower x-ray doses and less contrast media, results in fewer complications, and offers high accuracy for delineating the feeding arteries.