The Pathogenesis of Ventral Idiopathic Herniation of the Spinal Cord: A Hypothesis Based on the Review of the Literature

Ronald H M A Bartels, Han Brunner, Allard Hosman, Nens van Alfen, J André Grotenhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Idiopathic ventral herniation of the spinal cord (SC) is not often encountered in daily practice. Its clinical prevalence, however, will increase through increasing awareness and more frequent use of MRI. A clear explanation of its pathophysiology has never been formulated. It was hypothesized that the findings during surgery might indicate the real causative mechanism. An extensive literature search was performed, using Embase, PubMed, and Google Scholar. Titles and abstracts were screened by two investigators, using strict inclusion and exclusion criteria. Reference lists of the full paper versions of each included article were checked. The following data were registered for the articles included: age, gender, level of herniation, relation to intervertebral disk, duration of symptoms, findings from surgery, and outcomes. Nine cases treated at our department were added. A total of 117 articles reporting on 259 patients were included. Including our cases, 268 patients were reviewed. Females outnumbered males (160/100). The mean age was 51.3 ± 12.0 years. In 236 patients, the duration of symptoms was reported: 55.5 ± 55.6 months. In 178 patients, the intraoperative findings for the herniated part of the SC were not mentioned. In 59 patients, a tumor-like extrusion was seen, without any alteration to the SC. Deformation of the SC itself was never observed. Biopsies of these structures were without clinical consequence. Based on the intraoperative findings reported in literature and the cases presented, acquired causes, such as trauma and erosion of the dura due to a herniated disk, were not plausible. We hypothesize that a non-functioning appendix to the SC can only develop during an early embryologic phase, in which several layers separate. We propose renaming this entity as congenital transdural appendix of the SC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number476
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Journal Article
  • transdural appendix
  • DISC EXTRUSION
  • TREATABLE CAUSE
  • spinal cord herniation
  • SURGICAL-MANAGEMENT
  • congenital
  • VERTEBRAL BODY
  • INCREASINGLY RECOGNIZED CAUSE
  • BROWN-SEQUARD-SYNDROME
  • review
  • TRANSPEDICULAR APPROACH
  • DURAL DEFECT
  • TRANSDURAL HERNIATION
  • embryology
  • THORACIC SPINE

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