<%server.execute "isdev.asp"%> A rare case of intramedullary lipoma of brainstem to thoracic cord––What to do? Bishnoi I, Singh P, Duggal G, Sorout S - J Pediatr Neurosci
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CASE REPORT
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 145-149
 

A rare case of intramedullary lipoma of brainstem to thoracic cord––What to do?


1 Department of Neurosurgery, Maharaja Agrasen Medical College, Agroha, Haryana, India
2 Department of Radiology, Maharaja Agrasen Medical College, Agroha, Haryana, India
3 Department of Anesthesia, Maharaja Agrasen Medical College, Agroha, Haryana, India

Date of Submission17-Oct-2019
Date of Decision16-Jan-2020
Date of Acceptance29-Jan-2020
Date of Web Publication30-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ishu Bishnoi
Department of Neurosurgery, Maharaja Agrasen Medical College, Room No. 18A, Neurosurgery OPD, Agroha 125047, Haryana.
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jpn.JPN_134_19

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   Abstract 

Introduction: Intramedullary lipomas are rare, representing 1% of spinal cord tumors. There are less than 25 case reports about cord lipoma extending into brain. Due to paucity of literature, etiology and management are not well established. Case report: A 14-month-old baby girl was brought with complaints of torticollis toward right side, left upper limb monoplegia, and swallowing difficulty for 6 months. Magnetic resonance imaging brain and spine confirmed the diagnosis of cervicothoracic intramedullary lipoma extending till pontomedullary junction, invading subcutaneous fat. She underwent partial resection of lesion along with decompression. The recovery was good. Conclusion: Such lipoma needs extensive pre-, intra-, and postoperative planning. The goal should be decompression, rather than excision. Outcome is good with partial resection.


Keywords: Intramedullary lipoma, partial decompression, quadriparesis, torticollis


How to cite this article:
Bishnoi I, Singh P, Duggal G, Sorout S. A rare case of intramedullary lipoma of brainstem to thoracic cord––What to do?. J Pediatr Neurosci 2020;15:145-9

How to cite this URL:
Bishnoi I, Singh P, Duggal G, Sorout S. A rare case of intramedullary lipoma of brainstem to thoracic cord––What to do?. J Pediatr Neurosci [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 30];15:145-9. Available from: https://www.pediatricneurosciences.com/text.asp?2020/15/2/145/288299





   Introduction Top


Intramedullary lipomas are either dysraphic or non-dysraphic.[1],[2],[3] Both types are rare, representing 0.06%–0.46% of intracranial lesions and <1% of spinal lesions.[2],[3] There are few reports about extremely rare cases of craniospinal non-dysraphic lipoma.[1],[2],[3],[4] It presents unique challenges to neurosurgeon: both cranial and spinal involvement requiring extensive exposure, involvement of both brainstem and cord parenchyma, no clear plane between lesion and normal tissue, and no definitive guideline. This case report is about what to do to get satisfactory outcome in such type of lipoma based on our experience and review of existing literature.


   Case Report Top


A 14-month-old baby girl was brought with complaints of progressive torticollis right side [Figure 1]A, weakness of left upper limb (UL) progressed to monoplegia [Figure 1]A for 6 months, and swallowing difficulty for 1 month. She had episodes of regurgitation of food. On examination, she was conscious, active except left UL weakness and neck tilt, and irritable due to hunger. She had black colored pigmented spots with thick dark colored skin on the left side of nap of neck [Figure 1]B and C. It was pulsatile [Video 1] and non-tender. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain and cervicothoracic spine revealed intramedullary lipoma of cervicalthoracic cord from D2 to pontomedullary junction, having exophytic component on the left-side brainstem and cord [Figure 2]A–F
Figure 1: (A) Preoperative image of child, showing torticollis (head tilt) right side, left upper limb supported by bed. Her right upper limb is holding knee and providing support. (B) Dorsal aspect of neck having multiple dark colored pigmented spots on left side, from occiput till D2. (C) Marked area, which had visible pulsations. (D) Postoperative follow-up image showing correction of torticollis and functional left upper limb. She was able to hold object.

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Figure 2: (A) T2 sagittal MRI brain and spine showing iso-intense irregular intramedullary lesion extending from pontomedullary junction till D2 level, which is also going till subcutaneous region. (B) T1 sagittal MRI brain and spine showing lesion, which is hyperintense just like fat. (C) T1 axial cut of C3 showing hyperintense lesion arising from cord on left side, infiltrating left neural foramina and pushing cord toward right and anterior side. (D) T2 coronal cut showing iso- to hyperintense lesion and its relation with vertebral artery (red arrow), which is pushed anteriorly. (E) T1 axial cut of medulla showing hyperintense lesion present on left side, vertebral artery (flow void) in its anterior tip, pushing medulla on right side. (F) T2 axial cut of medulla showing lesion on left side with left jugular foramen extension (red dot). The significance of red arrow (Fig 2D) and red dot (Fig 2F) has been clearly explained in figure legend. It is depicting relation with vertebral artery (red arrow) and extension (red dot).

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The plan was to decompress the cord and remove lipoma without damaging parenchyma. Linear vertical incision was given from occipital protuberance till D3. There was subcutaneous lipoma continuing with cervical lipoma [Figure 3]A and B. The posterior arch of C1 was absent [Figure 3]B. Midline suboccipital craniotomy and laminectomy of C2–D1 were carried out [Figure 3]C. Dura was identified at all levels except C1–2 level. The lipoma was originating from the left lower part of ventral side of medulla oblongata and dorsal cervicothoracic cord. It was almost completely occupying the canal at C1–3 level, whereas cord could be identified below it and on the right side. It was pressing left 9th–11th nerves and entering jugular foramen. Partial decompression was carried out [Figure 3]D. After decompression, duroplasty was carried out with subcutaneous fat and glue [Figure 3]E. We did not consider fusion of spine to prevent future instability because of young age, unfused spine, avoid any obstacle for future growth of vertebrae. The surgical duration was 10 hours. There was around 200ml blood loss, which was replaced intraoperatively. Overnight ventilatory support was given for relaxation of brainstem and laryngeal edema. Next morning, she was extubated without new deficit. Neck was supported by hard collar to correct torticollis. She received vigorous physiotherapy. Her left hand’s fingers started moving by the fourth day. She was discharged on the 10th postoperative day. After 1 month, she was moving neck in all directions and had left UL power 3/5 (Medical Research Council score). The collar was continued for 6 weeks. At 6-month follow-up, she can sit, walk, speak clearly, use both ULs with right dominance, and move neck in all directions, but mostly keep tilted right side [Figure 1]C and D.
Figure 3: (A) Intraoperative image showing bulging cord lipoma (star marked) with dura (mixed) after dissecting free from subcutaneous lipoma (block marked). (B) Absent C1 arch and maximum bulge was through occiput and C2 lamina. The retractor is retracting the bulge to expose C2 lamina. (C) Multilobulated lipoma, after it was completely dissected free from surroundings. (D) Partial removal of lipoma, and dura was reconstructed to cover the cord. (E) Closure of reconstructed dura.

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   Discussion Top


Intramedullary lipoma, which involves both brainstem and spinal cord, is non-dysraphic type.[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7] It is like a benign intramedullary lesion.

After searching PubMed and cross-references, we found total 22 case reports till now.[1],[2],[4-11] Of 22 cases, lipoma was commoner in male, 13 cases. Mostly the lesion was detected before 3 years of age (59% cases) and all cases were detected before 20 years of age. It suggests slow growth of lesion and origin of symptoms due to mass effect, rather than direct damage. The most common symptom was weakness of limbs, in which quadriparesis was commonest (77%). Other symptoms in descending occurrence were incontinence (23%), hypotonia (20%), subcutaneous mass (20%), delayed milestones (14%), respiratory difficulties (14%), spasticity (10%), hydrocephalus (10%), dysphagia (10%), seizures (5%), nystagmus (5%), and pain (5%).[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11] In our patient, monoplegia, subcutaneous pulsatile mass, and dysphagia were present. The torticollis was altogether different symptom, reported for the first time. The probable reason of torticollis and dysphagia was compression of 9th, 10th, and 11th nerves.

MRI brain–whole spine, T1/T2/fluid-attenuated inversion recovery, is the investigation of choice. It shows complete extension, status of cord, and brainstem. However, it does not give much idea about plane between neural tissue and lipoma. Some functional neural tissues are mixed with lipoma at junction site. That is why complete removal is not feasible and it should not be attempted, also reported by Iplikcioglu and Karabag.[7]

Due to paucity of literature, there is no clear guideline about surgical resection. Le Feuvre et al.[1] reviewed all cases of spinal lipoma with cranial extension till 2004 and based on their case, they suggested that partial decompression and duroplasty, poorer prognosis of intracranial component, and functional improvement might take up to 2 years. Sanli et al.[2] collaborated data of most cases of brainstem–spinal lipoma till 2010. They concluded that the most common symptom was quadriparesis and partial decompression achieved satisfactory outcome.[2] We have reviewed all cases reported till now and complied our data of cases after 2004 in [Table 1]. On the basis of the literature and our own experience, we recommend few points: (1) The pigmented spots and subcutaneous mass are the markers of underlying lipoma. The incision should be such that it incorporates maximum part of it. (2) The dura must be reconstructed by dissecting it free from subcutaneous fat and intramedullary fat. (3) Wide laminectomy and craniotomy should be carried out to decompress and expose lipoma. (4) Superficial part of lipoma should be resected or aspirated with ultrasonic aspirator. (5) A portion of fat must be left behind. Dissecting fat tangentially can do it. (6) Lax duroplasty is must.
Table 1: Details of brainstem lipoma papers post 2003

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Operating such lesion causes significant damage to neck muscles and posterior column of spine. It may cause instability of spine and swan neck deformity. We could not find any reference article about fusion of spine or addressing spinal instability at such young age with extensive lesion. We put bone pieces back and advised hard collar to allow natural fusion and correct torticollis. Our plan is observation of child for the next 5 years for first growth spurt and see progress. If she develops neck deformity, doing instrumentation would be easier with less complications.

The outcome was satisfactory or good in most cases (60%), which attempted partial or subtotal resection.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11] The torticollis of our patient improved significantly and her UL regained power.


   Conclusion Top


Intramedullary, non-dysraphic lipoma is rare lesion, when it involves both cord and brainstem. It is a benign condition, which presents with both lower cranial nerves and cord symptoms. Overlying skin should be carefully examined for pigmentation and pulsations of lesion. The goal should be decompression, not complete excision. The differentiation between normal parenchyma and lipoma is not possible at junction site. In postoperative period, functional recovery is good, despite extensive involvement.

Acknowledgement

We are grateful to staff Riya, Kavita, and Varsha Patyal for assisting the case.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Le Feuvre DE, Semple PL, Peter JC. Intradural cervical lipomas with intracranial extension: a management strategy based on a case report and review of the literature. Br J Neurosurg 2004;18:385-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Sanli AM, Türkoğlu E, Kahveci R, Sekerci Z. Intradural lipoma of the cervicothoracic spinal cord with intracranial extension. Childs Nerv Syst 2010;26:847-52.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Baeesa SS, Higgins MJ, Ventureyra EC. Dorsal brain stem lipomas: Case report. Neurosurgery 1996;38:1031-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Mrabet A, Zouari R, Mouelhi T, Khouaja F, Ghariani MT, Hila A, et al. Cervicobulbar intramedullary lipoma. Apropos of a case with review of the literature. Neurochirurgie 1992;38:309-14.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Naim-ur-Rahman, Shahat AH, Obaideen AM, Ahmed K, Ahmed S. Intramedullary lipoma of the cervicodorsal spinal cord with intracranial extension: Case report. Surg Neurol 2006;65:486-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Mohindra S, Gupta SK. Cervicobulbar intramedullary lipoma. Spine J 2009;9:e12-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Iplikcioglu AC, Karabag H. Non-dysraphic intramedullary lipoma of the craniocervical region in an adult: Case report. Neurocirugia (Astur)2019;30: 250-3.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Kai Y, Amano T, Inamura T, Matsushima T, Takamatsu M, Kai E, et al. An infant with an intradural lipoma of the cervical spine extending into the posterior fossa. J Clin Neurosci 2003;10:127-30.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Ganapathy TKB, Balasubramaniam C. Giant cervical intramedullary lipoma with intracranial extension. J Pediatr Neurosci 2006;1:24-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Vila Mengual M, Miranda Lloret P, López González A, Simal JA, Alvarez Garijo JA. Spinal cord lipoma without dysraphism in the infancy that extends intracranially. Case report and review of the literature. Surg Neurol 2009;71: 613-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Takatani T, Arai H, Fujii K, Yasuda T, Kohno Y. A posterior fossa lipoma extending into the cervical spine and subcutaneous space via a cranium bifidum. Brain Dev 2008;30:603-5.  Back to cited text no. 11
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]
 
 
    Tables

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