Spinal cavernous and capillary hemangiomas in adults

Ranjith Babu, Timothy R. Owens, Isaac O. Karikari, Jessica Moreno, Thomas J. Cummings, Oren N. Gottfried, Carlos A. Bagley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


STUDY DESIGN.: Retrospective cohort analysis. OBJECTIVE.: To evaluate the neurological outcomes after resection of intramedullary, intradural extramedullary, and extradural hemangiomas. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Spinal hemangiomas most commonly arise in the vertebral bodies and are typically asymptomatic. Uncommonly, hemangiomas may cause significant neurological deficits via extraosseous extension. Intramedullary hemangiomas may also occur and account for approximately 5% of all spinal cord lesions, with those located intradural extramedullary occurring rarely. Although retrospective studies have primarily examined the neurological outcome of intramedullary and vertebral hemangiomas, there is little literature comparing outcomes after surgical treatment of hemangiomas of varying location. METHODS.: We performed a retrospective review of all patients treated for hemangiomas affecting the spinal cord at our institution between 1999 and 2012. Various patient, clinical, and tumor data were collected including patient demographics, neurological examinations, and procedure, clinic, and pathology notes. Imaging studies were evaluated to determine the extent of resection, presence of recurrence, and lesion volume. Functional status was defined using the Modified McCormick Scale (MMS). RESULTS.: A total of 19 patients were evaluated, with our cohort consisting of 8 intramedullary, 5 intradural extramedullary, and 6 vertebral hemangiomas with extraosseous extension. Cavernous hemangiomas were most common (47.4%), followed by those of the capillary type. At long-term follow-up, 73.7% of patients had improved neurological outcome and 15.8% had worsened. However, only 50% of patients with intramedullary hemangiomas improved, compared with 80% and 100% for intradural extramedullary and vertebral hemangiomas, respectively. Also, those with intramedullary lesions more frequently had worse outcomes after surgery (25%) than those with intradural extramedullary (20%) and vertebral hemangiomas (0%). CONCLUSION.: Although all patients typically present with a similar functional status, patients with intramedullary lesions are more unlikely to improve after surgical resection and derive less of a benefit compared with those with intradural extramedullary and vertebral hemangiomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E423-E430
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013


  • extramedullary
  • hemangioma
  • intramedullary
  • outcome
  • vertebral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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