Pediatric intramedullary spinal cord tumors: Special considerations

J. K. Houten, H. L. Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCTs) of the pediatric population are rare and comprise thirty-five percent of intraspinal neoplasms. Low-grade astrocytomas predominate; ependymomas increase in frequency with ascending age and become the most frequent IMSCT in adults. Gangliogliomas are very rare in adults but comprise nearly thirty percent of tumors in children under three years of age. The cervical spine is the region of the spine most affected. Pain is the most common presenting symptom with weakness, gait deterioration, torticollis also frequently reported. Hydrocephalus occurs with greater frequency than in adult patients and often requires a shunt. Motor and sensory evoked potential monitoring is routinely utilized. Osteoplastic laminotomy is performed to forestall the development of progressive spinal deformity. Gross total resection is feasible in most ependymomas and results in surgical cure. Astrocytomas are infiltrating neoplasms and gross total resection is occasionally possible only in the pediatric population. However, the role of radical resection of low-grade fibrillary astrocytomas of the spinal cord in children has not been definitively demonstrated in the literature. Outcome for low-grade astrocytomas is better in children than adults, but not as favorable as that for ependymomas. Malignant tumors have dismal outcomes and surgery in these patients serves only to provide a diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-230
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Astrocytoma
  • Ependymoma
  • Hydrocephaus
  • Laminoplasty
  • Pediatric
  • Spinal cord tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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