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Feasibility of a novel diagnostic chart of intramedullary spinal cord tumors in magnetic resonance imaging.

Spinal Cord 2014 October
STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective chart review.

OBJECTIVES: Each type of intramedullary spinal cord tumor (IMSCT) has specific anatomical and pathological features visible on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. The purpose of this study was to investigate the accuracy of preoperative IMSCT diagnosis using our diagnostic chart of tumor-specific MR imaging findings.

SETTING: Hamamatsu, Japan.

METHODS: From 2009 to 2013, 28 consecutive patients with IMSCT who underwent surgery in our university hospital were included in this study. There were 17 men and 11 women with an average age of 49 years (12-81). The pathological diagnoses were hemangioblastoma (12), ependymoma (11), astrocytoma (4) and squamous cell carcinoma (1). Tumor-specific MR imaging findings were as follows: ependymoma ((a) spinal cord swelling, (b) contrast effect with necrosis, (c) tumor in the center of the spinal cord), hemangioblastoma ((a) spinal cord swelling, (b) homogeneous contrast effect) and astrocytoma ((a) spinal cord swelling, (b) contrast effect is either, (c) eccentric tumor). Based on these features, we generated a diagnostic chart to investigate the MR imaging diagnosis accuracy for IMSCTs.

RESULTS: The accuracy of preoperative diagnosis was 89% (25/28 cases). Correct diagnoses were made in 100% of hemangioblastomas (12/12 cases), 90% of ependymomas (9/11 cases) and 100% of astrocytomas (4/4 cases).

CONCLUSIONS: Different types of IMSCTs exhibit unique MR imaging characteristics. These features can be used to preoperatively diagnose IMSCTs with high accuracy.

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