Intraspinal synovial cysts: A retrospective study

R. Acharya, R. V. Patwardhan, D. R. Smith, B. K. Willis, M. Fowler, A. Nanda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: We report the clinical presentation, radiographic studies, intraoperative findings, histopathological analysis, and post-treatment outcome in 26 patients diagnosed with spinal synovial cysts (SSCs). Aims: To describe the clinical presentation, radiographic studies, operative findings, and postoperative follow-up in 26 patients with SSCs. Settings and Design: The study was retrospective in design, involving chart review. Individual patient data was tabulated and patterns were recognized. Materials and Methods: The charts for 26 patients who underwent surgical extirpation of SSC between April 1993 and October 2002 were retrospectively reviewed. Specifically, initial clinical presentation, pertinent radiographs (X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography), intraoperative findings, histopathology, and postoperative follow-up were noted. Statistical Analysis Used: Patient data was tabulated and analyzed for patterns in demographics, symptoms and histopathology. Results: SSCs were more common in females than males (17:9 ratio). Presenting symptoms were back pain with radiculopathy in 13 (50%), radicular pain in the absence of back pain in 10 (38%), and back pain without radicular pain in three (11%). In addition, 17 patients (65%) had sensory deficit, and 9 (35%) had motor deficit. Most SSCs occurred at the lumbar (19/26) or lumbosacral (5/26) regions, with only 2 (2/26) in the thoracic region. One patient had bilateral SSC at the L4-5 level. Intraoperatively, each cyst was located adjacent to a degenerated facet joint. These lesions could grossly be identified intraoperatively and histopathological confirmation was achieved in all the cases. Conclusions: SSCs are important lesions to consider in the differential diagnosis of lumbar epidural masses and surgical resection leads to significant improvement in the majority of cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-41
Number of pages4
JournalNeurology India
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


  • Extradural
  • Facet joint
  • Spine
  • Synovial cyst

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Intraspinal synovial cysts: A retrospective study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this