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Surgical Intervention is Associated with Improved Outcomes in Patients with Symptomatic Cervical Spine Tarlov Cysts: Results from a Prospective Cohort Study

World Neurosurg. 2023 Oct 20:S1878-8750(23)01472-9. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2023.10.070. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Tarlov cysts are known contributors to radiculopathy but are often misdiagnosed and mismanaged due to a paucity of information. This is particularly true of cervical spine Tarlov cysts since most attention has been focused on sacral cysts. In this study we describe our longitudinal experience with patients who underwent surgery for cervical spine Tarlov cysts. We hypothesized that patients undergoing surgical treatment for cervical spine Tarlov cysts would report improvement following surgery.

METHODS: We conducted a prospective study of patients who underwent surgical treatment for cervical Tarlov cysts between 2010 and 2021. The Short-Form 36 (SF-36) survey was administered at preoperative and follow-up visits. Repeated measures analyses were used to assess changes in preoperative to postoperative status.

RESULTS: 37 patients with cervical spine cysts were included in the study, of which follow up data were obtained on 27 with a median follow-up of 1 year. 97.3% of the cohort was female, with an average age of 47.5 ± 10.3 years. Patients reported statistically significant improvement in 2 of the 4 SF-36 physical health domains (physical function, P< 0.001 and bodily pain, P<0.001) and 2 of the 4 mental health domains (vitality/energy, P<0.003 and social functioning, P = 0.007). Patients also reported less interference in work, education, and retirement activities at follow-up (P=0.017).

CONCLUSION: Our longitudinal series consisted of patients with symptomatic cervical spine Tarlov cysts which, to our knowledge, is the largest series described. Significant improvement in SF-36 domains were documented, indicating these patients can be successfully treated surgically.

PMID:37866779 | DOI:10.1016/j.wneu.2023.10.070

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