Surgical treatment for intramedullary spinal cord melanocytomas: Report of 3 cases

Eric M. Horn, Peter Nakaji, Stephen W. Coons, Curtis A. Dickman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


Spinal meningeal melanocytomas are rare lesions that are histologically benign and can behave aggressively, with local infiltration. The authors present their experience with intramedullary spinal cord melanocytomas consisting of 3 cases, which represents the second largest series in the literature. A retrospective chart review was performed following identification of all spinal melanocytomas treated at the author's institution, based on information obtained from a neuropathology database. The charts were reviewed for patient demographics, surgical procedure, clinical outcome, and long-term tumor progression. Three patients were identified in whom spinal melanocytoma had been diagnosed between 1989 and 2006. The patients' ages were 37, 37, and 48 years, and the location of their tumor was C1-3, T9-10, and T-12, respectively. All 3 had complete resection with no adjuvant radiotherapy during follow-up periods of 16, 38, and 185 months, respectively. One patient demonstrated a recurrence 29 months after resection and the other 2 patients have demonstrated asymptomatic recurrences on imaging studies obtained at 16 and 38 months following resection. With these cases added to the available literature, the evidence strongly suggests that complete resection is the treatment of choice for spinal melanocytomas. Even with complete resection, recurrences are common and close follow-up is needed for the long term in these patients. Radiation therapy should be reserved for those cases in which complete resection is not possible or in which there is recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-54
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008


  • Melanotic
  • Meningeal melanocytoma
  • Neoplasm
  • Spine tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Neurology

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