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What symptoms does Spondylolisthesis cause?

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Due to any congenital or degenerative cause, one of the vertebrae slips out of its position onto the one that is beneath it. This causes increased pressure on the lower vertebra resulting in pain and functional limitations. It can also affect the spinal nerves passing through the area involved by compressing them. The severity of the condition depends on the cause and the region.

In order to understand Spondylolisthesis in detail, India’s best neurosurgeon Dr. Kalyan Bommakanti has explained various symptoms that may result from this condition.

The symptoms usually caused by Spondylolisthesis are as follows:

1.Low back pain:

The most common symptom seen is low back pain. The patient may experience pain when the affected segment is touched or when extension is done at that region. Flexion can be a relieving factor.

2. Muscle tightness and instability:

The spine is the stability center of the body. When there is any malalignment of a segment, it causes problems in the related areas too. All the muscles in the region are connected with each other. When the lumbar spine is affected, along with the lumbar area it will also cause muscle tension and tightness in the buttock area and in one or both the legs. Hamstrings tightness is very common in this condition, resulting in trouble in walking or standing. Pain may usually increase with activity.

3. Altered sensations:

Due to excessive pressure exerted on the nerve fibers, there can be sensations altered in one or both legs resulting in numbness or tingling sensation.

4. Bowel or bladder incontinence:

In severe and rare cases, if the displacement is extreme and the nerves controlling bowel and bladder functioning are pinched, it may result in incontinence or even loss of control.

Sometimes, the symptoms are not as severe so the patients don’t take it seriously. But in both cases, professional consultation and evaluation must be done in order to avoid any damage in the future.

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How to diagnose Spinal Cord EpendymomaIntroduction

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How to diagnose Spinal Cord Ependymoma​


Ependymoma is a very common tumor of the spinal cord​

I will try to explain you how is spinal cord ependymoma diagnosed​

This video is for non-medical persons who are either patients or their relatives and looking to know how is ependymoma diagnosed with radiology​

MRI Imaging​

MRI is a non-invasive imaging modality that uses magnetic resonance to visualize the spinal cord and surrounding tissues.​

MRI is the preferred imaging method for evaluating spinal cord ependymoma due to its ability to provide detailed images of soft tissues, including the spinal cord and the tumor itself.

Tumor Location​

Spinal cord ependymomas usually arise from the ependymal cells lining the central canal of the spinal cord.​

They are commonly found in the cervical and thoracic regions of the spinal cord.​

 Tumor Appearance​

Spinal cord ependymomas typically appear as well-defined, intramedullary (within the spinal cord) lesions on MRI.​

They have a characteristic appearance of a well-circumscribed mass that is isointense or hypointense on T1-weighted images, and hyperintense on T2-weighted images.​

 Enhancement Pattern​

Spinal cord ependymomas often show heterogeneous enhancement with contrast administration on post-contrast MRI images.​

This means that some parts of the tumor may take up contrast more than others, which can help differentiate it from other types of spinal cord tumors.​

 Other Imaging Features​

Spinal cord ependymomas may exhibit other imaging features on MRI, such as cystic areas within the tumor, calcifications, or peritumoral edema (swelling around the tumor).​

These features can provide additional information for diagnosis and treatment planning.​


In conclusion, MRI plays a crucial role in evaluating spinal cord ependymoma.​

The MRI imaging features, including tumor location, appearance, enhancement pattern, and other relevant imaging features, can aid in the diagnosis and treatment planning of this condition.​

But the final and definitive diagnosis is done by microscopic examination of the tumor.

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Ependymoma of the Spine: Treatment Approach

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Definition of Ependymoma: A type of primary central nervous system tumor that arises from ependymal cells, which line the ventricles and central canal of the spinal cord. 

Incidence and Location: Ependymoma of the spine is a rare tumor, accounting for approximately 10% of all spinal cord tumors. It can occur at any level of the spinal cord, but most commonly found in the cervical and thoracic regions.

Treatment Goals:

The primary goals of treating ependymoma of the spine are to achieve complete tumor removal, preserve neurological function, and prevent tumor recurrence.

Treatment Options


Surgery is the mainstay of treatment for ependymoma of the spine, aiming for complete tumor resection whenever feasible. 

It may involve laminectomy, hemilaminectomy, or more extensive approaches depending on the tumor location and size. 

In some cases, a spinal fusion may be performed to stabilize the spine after tumor removal.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy may be used in conjunction with surgery or as a primary treatment modality for ependymoma of the spine. 

It is typically delivered postoperatively to the tumor bed and surrounding areas to target any residual tumor cells and reduce the risk of recurrence.


Chemotherapy is not typically used as a primary treatment for ependymoma of the spine, but it may be considered in certain cases, especially for recurrent or metastatic tumors.  

Commonly used chemotherapy agents include vincristine, cisplatin, and etoposide.


Rehabilitation plays a crucial role in the overall management of patients with ependymoma of the spine.  

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other rehabilitation interventions may be utilized to improve functional outcomes, manage pain, and optimize quality of life.


Summary: Ependymoma of the spine is a rare tumor that requires a multidisciplinary approach for optimal management. 

Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, with the goal of achieving complete tumor resection, preserving neurological function, and preventing recurrence. 

Importance of Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation plays a crucial role in the overall management of patients with ependymoma of the spine to optimize functional outcomes and quality of life. 

Importance of Follow-Up: Regular follow-up is essential for monitoring tumor recurrence and managing potential treatment-related complications.

  • · Final Thoughts 

Treatment decisions for ependymoma of the spine should be individualized based on the specific characteristics of the tumor and the overall health status of the patient, and should be made in consultation with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.

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Survival Rates for Spinal Cord Ependymoma

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Definition: Spinal cord ependymoma is a type of tumor that originates from the ependymal cells in the spinal cord. 

Importance: Understanding the survival rates for spinal cord ependymoma can provide insight into the prognosis and outcomes associated with this condition. 

Note: Survival rates are statistical estimates and individual outcomes may vary.

Factors Affecting Survival Rates

Tumor Grade: The grade of the spinal cord ependymoma is a significant factor affecting survival rates. Grade I ependymomas are typically considered benign and have a more favorable prognosis compared to grade II and grade III ependymomas.

Surgical Resection: The extent of surgical resection, or the complete removal of the tumor, can impact survival rates. Higher rates of complete surgical resection are associated with better outcomes. 

Patient Age and Health: Patient age and overall health can also impact survival rates, with younger and healthier patients generally having better prognosis.

Survival Rates for Grade I Spinal Cord Ependymoma

Grade I ependymomas are considered benign and have a relatively favorable prognosis. 

5-Year Survival Rate: The 5-year survival rate for grade I spinal cord ependymoma with complete surgical resection is reported to be around 80-90%. 

Note: Other factors, such as tumor location and patient-specific factors, may also influence survival rates in individual cases.

Survival Rates for Grade II and Grade III Spinal Cord Ependymoma

Grade II ependymomas are intermediate-grade tumors, while grade III ependymomas are considered malignant. 

5-Year Survival Rate: The 5-year survival rate for grade II spinal cord ependymoma may range from 60-80% with complete surgical resection. The 5-year survival rate for grade III spinal cord ependymoma may range from 30-60% even with aggressive treatment. 

Note: Other factors, such as tumor characteristics, treatment approach, and patient-specific factors, may also influence survival rates in individual cases.


Spinal cord ependymomas generally have a relatively favorable prognosis compared to ependymomas in other locations of the central nervous system. 

Factors such as tumor grade, extent of surgical resection, and patient-specific factors can impact survival rates. 

It’s crucial to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for accurate prognosis and personalized treatment recommendations based on individual circumstances. 

Regular follow-up and monitoring are important for detecting any signs of recurrence or complications.

Medical disclaimer

It’s important to work closely with a qualified healthcare team for accurate prognosis, treatment, and management of spinal cord ependymoma or any other medical condition. This PowerPoint presentation provides a general overview and should not be considered as medical advice.

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Surgical Technique for Ependymoma of the Spine – Posterior Approach

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Diagnosis and Patient Evaluation

Ependymoma of the spine is diagnosed through imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans. Patient evaluation includes assessing general health, neurological status, and other factors that may impact the surgical approach.

Preoperative Planning

Review of imaging studies in detail to determine the location, size, and extent of the tumor. Optimal surgical approach is planned based on tumor characteristics, patient factors, and surgeon expertise.

Anesthesia and Patient Positioning

The patient is placed under general anesthesia, and positioned in the prone (face-down) position on the operating table to provide adequate exposure of the spine for the posterior approach.

Skin Incision and Exposure

A midline incision is made in the back over the affected spinal segment. Muscles and soft tissues are carefully dissected to expose the vertebral lamina, which may be removed to access the tumor.

Tumor Resection

Once the tumor is visualized, the surgeon carefully removes it while preserving the surrounding healthy spinal cord tissue. This requires meticulous dissection and careful monitoring of the spinal cord function during surgery to minimize the risk of damage to the nervous tissue.

Hemostasis and Closure

Bleeding is carefully controlled using surgical techniques, and the wound is closed using appropriate sutures or staples. Hemostasis is crucial to minimize the risk of postoperative bleeding.

Postoperative Care

The patient is closely monitored in the intensive care unit (ICU) or a specialized neurosurgical ward. Pain management, wound care, and early mobilization are important aspects of postoperative care. Physical and occupational therapy may also be initiated to help the patient regain strength and function.

Risks and Complications

Like any surgical procedure, surgery for ependymoma of the spine via the posterior approach carries risks and potential complications, including infection, bleeding, nerve injury, spinal cord damage, and complications related to anesthesia. The risk of complications can be minimized through careful patient selection, meticulous surgical technique, and postoperative monitoring.


The posterior approach is a common surgical technique for resecting ependymomas of the spine, with careful preoperative planning, precise surgical technique, and diligent postoperative care being crucial for successful outcomes.

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Spinal Ependymoma – Is it Cancerous?

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Definition: Spinal ependymoma is a type of tumor that arises from the ependymal cells lining the central canal of the spinal cord. 

Occurrence: It is a rare type of tumor, accounting for approximately 3-6% of all spinal cord tumors. 

Classification: Spinal ependymomas are typically considered benign or low-grade malignant tumors, meaning they have the potential to recur but do not typically spread to other parts of the body.

Cancerous Nature of Spinal Ependymoma

Tumor Behavior: Spinal ependymomas are typically slow-growing tumors that tend to remain localized within the spinal cord without spreading to distant sites. 

Invasion of Surrounding Tissue: Although spinal ependymomas can infiltrate and invade nearby tissues within the spinal cord, they do not typically invade adjacent structures outside the spinal cord or metastasize to distant organs. 

Mitotic Activity: Spinal ependymomas usually exhibit low mitotic activity, which is a measure of cell division and is typically lower in malignant tumors.

Diagnosis and Grading

Diagnosis: Spinal ependymomas are typically diagnosed through imaging tests such as MRI or CT scan, along with a biopsy to confirm the tumor’s origin and characteristics. 

Grading: Spinal ependymomas are graded based on their histological features, including cellular characteristics, mitotic activity, and presence of necrosis. Grade I tumors are considered benign, while Grade II and III tumors are classified as low-grade and high-grade malignant tumors, respectively.

Treatment and Prognosis

Treatment Options: The treatment approach for spinal ependymoma depends on various factors, including the tumor’s location, size, grade, and the patient’s overall health. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

Prognosis: The prognosis for spinal ependymoma is generally favorable, especially for Grade I and II tumors that are completely resected. However, the prognosis for Grade III tumors may be less favorable due to their higher potential for recurrence and aggressive behavior.

Follow-Up and Monitoring

Follow-Up: Regular follow-up appointments with a healthcare provider are important for patients with spinal ependymoma to monitor for any signs of recurrence or complications.

Monitoring: Follow-up appointments may include imaging tests, neurological examinations, and assessments of functional status to monitor the tumor’s status and the patient’s overall well-being. 

Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation and supportive care may be an important part of the treatment plan for spinal ependymoma patients, as the tumor and its treatment may affect neurological function and quality of life.

Medical Disclaimer

It’s important to consult a qualified healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis, treatment, and management of spinal ependymoma or any other medical condition. This PowerPoint presentation provides a general overview and should not be considered as medical advice

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