Surgery Effective for Subaxial Cervical Synovial Cysts

Surgical resection effective with no deaths, and minimal postoperative complications

THURSDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Surgical resection can be an effective treatment for patients presenting with cervical radiculopathy or myelopathy who have a subaxial cervical synovial cyst with minimal postoperative complications, according to a study published in the Sept. 15 issue of Spine.

Mark K. Lyons, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, and colleagues reported their experience with 35 patients with histologically confirmed subaxial cervical synovial cysts, treated surgically between 1993 and 2009. The patients were assessed for presenting symptoms, age, gender, cervical level, surgical treatments, complications, and clinical outcomes. Of the 35, 22 presented with cervical radiculopathy, and 13 with myelopathy. Preoperative and postoperative neurologic evaluations were ranked according to the Modified Rankin Score. The participants were followed up for at least 12 months postoperatively, with a mean follow-up of 49 months.

The investigators found that there were no deaths correlated with the surgical treatment. One patient who underwent a decompressive laminectomy and posterior instrumented fusion had postoperative infection. Modified Rankin Score was 0 (no symptoms) for 12 patients, 1 for 17 patients, 2 for four patients, and 3 for two patients. No patient was postoperatively assessed as functionally worse than his preoperative status. No other patients' characteristics, including age, cervical level, or surgical procedure performed, were statistically significant outcome predictors.

"Patients presenting with cervical radicular or myelopathic symptoms may occasionally be harboring a synovial cyst," the authors write. "Surgical resection and decompression of the neural structures can be an effective treatment."

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