Predictors of ambulatory function after surgical resection of intramedullary spinal cord tumors

Graeme F. Woodworth*, Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Matthew J. McGirt, Daniel M. Sciubba, George I. Jallo, Ziya Gokaslan, Jean Paul Wolinsky, Timothy F. Witham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Contemporary treatment of intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCTs) involves radical or subtotal tumor resection with adjuvant radiation and/or chemotherapy, depending on the tumor's histological type and grade as well as the extent of resection. Despite advances in surgical therapy, this approach continues to have significant morbidity. Although previous research is limited, identifying reliable predictors of functional status after tumor resection would be clinically useful for perioperative modification strategies. METHODS: All patients who underwent surgery for IMSCTs at an academic tertiary care institution between 1995 and 2004 were retrospectively reviewed, and predictors of postoperative neurological functional status were assessed by multivariate logistical regression analysis. Neurological status was gauged by the ability to walk without assistance at the time of the last follow-up visit. RESULTS: Seventy-eight IMSCT resections were performed during the study period. Preoperative (on the day of or the day before surgery) serum glucose greater than 170 mg/dl (relative risk, 0.03; 95% confidence interval, 0.00-0.27; P = 0.001) and preoperative radiation therapy (relative risk, 0.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.00-0.39, P = 0.012) were independently associated with poor functional status postoperatively. The ability to walk unassisted before surgery (relative risk, 17.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.89-154.5, P = 0.012), on other hand, was the only positive predictor of the ability to walk unassisted at the time of the last follow-up visit. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that early surgical intervention after the onset of symptoms for patients with IMSCT may help preserve ambulatory function. Deferral of preoperative radiation therapy for less radiosensitive tumors and strict perioperative glucose control may also help maximize a patient's subsequent ambulatory status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-105
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007


  • Hyperglycemia
  • Intramedullary spine tumor
  • Outcome
  • Predictors
  • Radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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