Myxopapillary ependymomas; proximity to the conus and its effect on presentation and outcomes

Ahmed Helal, Anthony L. Mikula, Nadia N. Laack, William E. Krauss, Michelle J. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Myxopapillary ependymomas (MPE) are intradural spinal tumors with a predilection to the filum terminale. Damage to conus medullaris during surgery can result in sphincteric and sexual dysfunction. the purpose of this study is to determine how myxopapillary ependymoma proximity to the conus impacts patient presentation, extent of resection, and clinical outcomes. Methods: Fifty-one patients who underwent surgical resection of pathologically confirmed myxopapillary ependymoma with at least 1 year of follow-up were included in the study. We collected initial presenting symptoms, distance of the tumor from the conus, extent of resection, and postoperative clinical outcomes including bladder dysfunction. Results: Average age was 38 years (range 7–75 years) with a male to female ratio of 1.43:1. Patients most commonly presented with pain symptoms (88%), and 12 patients (23.5%) had urologic symptoms on presentation. the mean tumor distance from the tip of the conus was 1.60 cm (10 cm above to 21 cm below the tip of the conus). Patients with tumors in contact with the conus had a significantly higher rate of preoperative urinary symptoms and were more likely (32% vs. 14%) to suffer postoperative urinary sphincteric disturbances. Tumors with direct invasion of the conus medullaris were more likely to require intralesional resection and fail to achieve a gross total resection (GTR). Conclusion: Patients with MPE in close proximity to the conus were more likely to suffer from long-term morbidity related to urologic issues following surgical resection. Adjuvant radiotherapy may be a viable option for patients who fail to achieve GTR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number429
JournalSurgical Neurology International
StatePublished - 2021


  • Conus
  • Ependymoma
  • Myxopapillary
  • Outcome
  • Predictors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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