G. Lakshmi Prasad, S. Divya

February 2020, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 221 - 237 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-019-06037-7

First Online: 21 June 2019


Spinal teratomas are rare tumours noted in adults and are commonly located in the thoracolumbar region. Currently, there appears to be a lack of clear consensus regarding the management and prognosis of these lesions. A comprehensive review along with an illustrative case managed at the author’s institute has been presented.

Materials and methods

Online database search was performed for literature review.


A 26-year-old male presented with acute onset neurological deficits and imaging revealed features of conus teratoma. Subtotal resection was performed and patient achieved fair recovery. Including the present one, a total of 146 cases have been reported and were analysed. Mean age was 39.6 years (range 18–85 years) and males predominated. Limb weakness and backache were the commonest symptoms. Majority of the lesions were intramedullary and located in the thoracolumbar region. Complete resection (CR) was achieved in 45% of cases. All, except one, were mature teratomas. Recurrences were noted in nine (6.1%) cases. Outcome was good/excellent in 86 (60%) and fair/poor in 26 (18%) cases. The presence of pain, absence of limb weakness and CR were significantly associated with good outcomes. Furthermore, subtotal resection (STR) had significantly higher recurrence rates than CR. Four deaths (2.7%) were noted.


Total surgical resection is the standard treatment and appears to be beneficial both in terms of outcomes and recurrences. Overall, recurrences are rare and may be managed by re-surgery. In addition, the present report is the eighth case of adult spinal teratoma with an acute onset presentation.

Graphic abstract

These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.[graphic not available: see fulltext]

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