Lumbar Laminoplasty for Resection of Myxopapillary Ependymoma of the Conus Medullaris: 2-Dimensional Operative Video : Operative Neurosurgery

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Lumbar Laminoplasty for Resection of Myxopapillary Ependymoma of the Conus Medullaris: 2-Dimensional Operative Video

Strong, Michael J MD, PhD, MPH; Yee, Timothy J MD; Khalsa, Siri Sahib S MD; Saadeh, Yamaan S MD; North, Robert MD, PhD; Oppenlander, Mark E MD

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Operative Neurosurgery 20(5):p E352, May 2021. | DOI: 10.1093/ons/opab038
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Myxopapillary ependymomas are slow-growing tumors that are located almost exclusively in the region of the conus medullaris, cauda equina, and filum terminale of the spinal cord. Surgical intervention achieving a gross total resection is the main treatment modality. If, however, a gross total resection cannot be achieved, surgery is augmented with radiation therapy. In this video, we present the case of a 27-yr-old male with persistent back pain and radiculopathy who was found to have a myxopapillary ependymoma that was adherent to the conus. Preoperative imaging demonstrated that the tumor was displacing the conus and nerve roots ventrally. A laminoplasty at L1-L2 was performed with near-total resection because of the intimate involvement of neural tissue. The key features of the video include performing laminoplasty and rationale, and performing maximum safe tumor resection with a combination of bipolar cautery, suction, and ultrasonic aspiration augmented with frequent stimulation, gel foam pledgets intradurally, and achieving a watertight closure of the dura and fascia. The patient tolerated the surgery well without any complications. Given his gross residual disease along the conus and young age, he was at a high risk for continued tumor growth without adjuvant therapy, with a recurrence rate of roughly 33% to 45% in patients who underwent subtotal resection. With the addition of adjuvant radiation therapy, the recurrence rate is 20% to 29%.1,2 He was discharged to home with a plan for conventional fractionated external beam radiation. At the most recent follow-up, he reported decreased back pain and radiculopathy. Appropriate patient consent was obtained.

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This study did not receive any funding or financial support.


The authors have no personal, financial, or institutional interest in any of the drugs, materials, or devices described in this article. Dr Oppenlander is a consultant for Globus Medical, DePuy Spine, and LifeNet Health.


1. Abdulaziz M, Mallory GW, Bydon M, et al. Outcomes following myxopapillary ependymoma resection: the importance of capsule integrity. Neurosurg Focus. 2015;39(2):E8.
    2. Feldman WB, Clark AJ, Safaee M, Ames CP, Parsa AT. Tumor control after surgery for spinal myxopapillary ependymomas: distinct outcomes in adults versus children: a systematic review. J Neurosurg Spine. 2013;19(4):471-476.

      Conus medullaris; Intradural; Lumbar laminoplasty; Myxopapillary ependymoma; Spinal tumor

      © Congress of Neurological Surgeons 2021.