Selim Ayhan, Selcuk Palaoglu, Serdar Geyik, Isil Saatci, Mehmet Bulent Onal

January 2015, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 187 - 192 Grand Rounds Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-014-3620-4

First Online: 29 October 2014


[InlineMediaObject not available: see fulltext.]Spinal intramedullary arteriovenous malformations are uncommon and a challenging type of neurosurgical entities. They are rarely located to cervical segment. On the other hand, although hemangiomas are relatively common bone tumors, cervical involvement is again rare and clinically significant ones are infrequent.

Case presentation

A 14 year-old-male patient referred to an academic tertiary care unit and presented with neck pain and left hand weakness. Neurological examination revealed motor strength deficit at intrinsic muscles and hyperesthesia at the left hand. Furthermore the pathological reflexes were positive on the left hand side. Imaging studies showed compression fracture, lytic changes resembling a hemangioma at C7 vertebra, and also an intramedullary vascular pathology at C5-6 level which was shown to be an intradural-intramedullary arteriovenous malformation (AVM) on digital subtraction angiography. Based on neurological and radiological findings, the decision was to treat the patient. After embolization of the AVM, the neurological condition of the patient deteriorated and immediate MRI scan of the cervical spine revealed edema of the spinal cord at the C5-6 level. Thus an emergent surgery was performed and C5-6-7 laminectomies with C5-T2 posterior fixation and arthrodesis were implemented. A second stage operation was carried out as C7 corpectomy with a distractable titanium cage 2 weeks after initial surgery. A follow-up evaluation at five years revealed 4/5 motor strength on his left intrinsic hand muscles and mild hyperactive deep tendon reflexes. Imaging studies at the postoperative period showed stable placement of the construct and no evidence of contrast enhancement at the C5-6 level inside the spinal cord.


A rare case of multiple pathologies affecting the cervical spine, coincidentally diagnosed after a pathological fracture during a bicycle accident as vertebral hemangioma and intradural-intramedullary AVM that was successfully treated with early detection, have been presented. One should assess such patients under multidisciplinary fashion and treat on a case-by-case basis for achieving the best results in patient care.

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