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Dumbbell Hydatid Cyst of the Spine: Case Report and Review of the Literature

Hamdan, Thamir A., FRCS; Al-Kaisy, Mubder A., FICMS

Case Reports

Study Design. A case report of a hydatid cyst in the retropleural space at T7–T8 with an extension into the spinal canal through an intervertebral foramen complicated by paraparesis due to thoracic cord compression.

Objective. To confirm that hydatid cyst should be considered in the differential diagnosis for any mass discovered in the human body.

Summary of Background Data. Appearance of a dumbbell-shaped mass in the thoracic spine is highly suggestive of neurofibroma. Hydatid cyst, although very rare, may have the same appearance. The spine is involved in 50% of hydatid disease of the bone. A hydatid cyst of the bone and muscle is always primary. Neurologic recovery is possible because it is a slow-growing lesion.

Method. Clinical symptoms, differential diagnosis, and treatment are reviewed. The patient was treated successfully by total surgical excision of the lesion through a posterior retropleural approach. No medical treatment was prescribed.

Results. Surgical excision is effective in the treatment of hydatid disease of the spine, particularly if there is no extensive bony destruction and it is possible to achieve neurologic recovery after decompression of the thoracic spine.

Conclusion. Extra spinal hydatidosis may lead to spinal cord compression by extension through the intervertebral foramen. The possibility of cure is high when there is no bony involvement.

From the Basrah Spinal Unit, Medical College, Basrah, Iraq.

Acknowledgment date: October 10, 1997.

First revision date: February 23, 1998.

Acceptance date: July 6, 1999.

Address reprint requests to

Thamir A. Hamdan

Department of Surgery and Basrah Spinal Unit

Medical College - Basrah University

P.O. Box 763

Basrah, Iraq

Conflict of interest category: 12.

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.