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Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2012 December;56(4):373-8

lingua: Inglese

Thoracic spinal stenosis and myelopathy: report of two rare cases and review of the literature

Amato V., Giannachi L., Irace C., Corona C.

Neurosurgery Unit, Casa di Cura IGEA, IGEA Hospital, Milan, Italy


The authors report two cases of thoracic spinal canal stenosis (SCS) and myelopathy. One is extremely unusual because of degenerative changes occurred in the upper thoracic spine. The other because of its multiple etiology among which calcification and ossification of the ligamentum flavum (OLF) in a Caucasian man. Both patients presented with an history of slowly progressive spastic paraparesis. In the first case computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance (MR) images revealed hypertrophy of the legamentum flavum and laminae causing compression of the spinal cord at T2-T3. In the second case diagnostic imaging showed three levels of stenosis in the lower thoracic spine due to degenerative changes, calcification and OLF with cord damage at T9-T10. A decompressive laminectomy and medial facetectomy was performed in both patients. The ligamentum flavum, hypertrophied and infolded in the first case and calcified and ossified in the second, was removed with careful dissection of the dural adhesions. Both patients showed a rapid post-operative recovery and regained autonomous walking within 1 month of surgery. Thoracic spinal cord stenosis is a rare and complex disorder because of differential diagnosis, neuroimaging features and treatment options. Regardless of its cause, prompt surgical decompression plays a key role in improving the functional outcome of myelopathy.

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