Myxopapillary Ependymoma: Radiology-Pathology Correlation

Myxopapillary ependymoma arises in the lumbar region of the spinal cord and typically produces symptoms associated with impingement of the spinal nerve roots of the cauda equina. It usually appears as an oval or sausage-shaped contrast-enhancing mass, like the one pictured in this MRI image (sagittal post-contrast T1 Fat-sat).  The myxopapillary ependymoma in the inset photograph represents a gross surgical... Continue Reading →

Multiple Schwannomas in Neurofibromatosis Type II (NF2)

Schwannomas are typically sporadic lesions which stem from the Schwann cells that myelinate (or insulate) the peripheral nerves.  Patients with multiple schwannomas are more likely to have an associated familial tumor syndrome, such as Neurofibromatosis Type II (NF2). NF2 is a disorder in which a person inherits a defective gene, called NF2, that affects the merlin tumor suppressor protein thereby permiting... Continue Reading →

Spinal Hematoma Associated with Lumbar Puncture

Patients with neurologic dysfunction often require a lumbar puncture (LP) for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.  LP-associated complications are uncommon, but can include trauma to local tissues that may result in bleeding.  If vascular disruption occurs near or inside the thecal sac at the base of the spinal cord, then the resulting blood clot, or hematoma, can compress spinal nerve... Continue Reading →

Herniated Disk

Located between the bony vertebrae of the spinal column, the vertebral disks act as cushions and shock absorbers to allow for freedom of movement of the spine.  Activities that increase pressure in the lower back, such as repeatedly lifting heavy objects while bending at the waist, may cause the inner gel-like substance (called the center nucleus) of a... Continue Reading →

Spinal Ependymoma: Typical Radiographic Appearance

Ependymal tumors are the third most common primary spinal tumor in adults, after meningiomas and peripheral nerve sheath tumors.  WHO (World Health Organization) Grade II spinal ependymomas, like the one depicted on this sagittal MRI of the cervical spine, have a typical radiographical appearance featuring an intramedullary oval-shaped mass with contrast enhancement.  Ependymomas are often... Continue Reading →

Infection/Inflammation of Spine and Nerve Roots

The spinal cord is covered by protective outer connective tissue layers called the pia-arachnoid or leptomeninges.  Inflammatory or infectious processes that involve the leptomeninges, called leptomeningitis, can also involve the adjacent spinal nerve roots, which similarly have an outer covering of connective tissue that is continuous with the leptomeninges.  The image depicts a spinal cord with acute... Continue Reading →

Dorsal Root Ganglia

Dorsal root ganglia are located along the length of the spinal cord and are composed of clusters of large neuron cell bodies, each with a prominent nucleus and nucleolus, that belong to sensory nerves whose axons deliver sensory information to the spinal cord.

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