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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 453-455  

Spinal cord surgery in left lateral position with tilt in a pregnant patient with intradural extramedullary Schwannoma

1 Department of Anaesthesiology, Sri Ramachandra Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication16-Jul-2015

Correspondence Address:
Sathish Babu
No. 42, 1st Street, Lazar Nagar, Kamaraj Nagar, Avadi, Chennai - 600 071, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5049.160967

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How to cite this article:
Babu S, Murugan A, Thamarai. Spinal cord surgery in left lateral position with tilt in a pregnant patient with intradural extramedullary Schwannoma. Indian J Anaesth 2015;59:453-5

How to cite this URL:
Babu S, Murugan A, Thamarai. Spinal cord surgery in left lateral position with tilt in a pregnant patient with intradural extramedullary Schwannoma. Indian J Anaesth [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Apr 18];59:453-5. Available from: https://www.ijaweb.org/text.asp?2015/59/7/453/160967


We present the case of 22-year-old pregnant woman who underwent surgery in semi-prone position for a grade II Schwannoma.

When admitted to our institute, she was in the second trimester of her first pregnancy. According to the last menstrual period and earlier ultrasound examination, the gestational age was 24 weeks. Her past medical, gynaecological, and neurological history was unremarkable. Her pregnancy had been uncomplicated until the 5 th month. At approximately 20 weeks of gestation, the patient complained of difficulty in walking. Gradually she became bed ridden and was admitted in our institute as she was unable to walk. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of lumbar spine with whole spine screening revealed an intradural extramedullary dumbbell shaped lesion at D8-D9 level extending into the right D9-D10 neural foramina suggestive of nerve sheath tumour causing adjacent compression and displacement of the cord [Figure 1] and [Figure 2].
Figure 1: Spinal cord tumour

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Figure 2: Spinal cord Schwannoma

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The patient's physical condition and that of the foetus were good, and all laboratory values were within normal limits. Due to the acute ongoing neurological deficit and patient being bed ridden, it was decided to electively remove the tumour. At the time of surgery, the patient was in the 24 th week of gestation.

Before induction, a wedge was placed under the right hip to displace the uterus to the left and increase venacaval blood flow. After preoxygenation, anaesthesia was induced with injection fentanyl 100 μg, and injection thiopentone 250 mg with vecuronium, 5 mg to facilitate orotracheal intubation. Anaesthesia was maintained with sevoflurane (0.5%), air and oxygen. In addition to standard monitoring (electrocardiography, pulse oximetry, oxygen analyser, end-tidal carbon dioxide) invasive arterial pressure was used. Foetal heart rate for prompt detection of foetal hypoxia was monitored using a cardiotocography fixed to the mother's abdominal wall; monitoring was continued throughout the operation and periodically during the first 12 h after operation. After judicious administration of saline to stabilise arterial pressure, the patient was anchored to the OR table in left lateral decubitus position with the help of adhesive tapes. Once the tapes were secured the whole table was given 90° tilt, hence the patient was in a semi-prone position. Proper gel paddings were used to prevent the pressure sores. Cardiotocography was monitored by the consultant obstetrician. Surgery was started in semi-prone position and the patient underwent D8-D9 laminectomy with excision of the intradural extramedullary grade II Schwannoma. Pathology confirmed the diagnosis of Schwannoma. Heart rate and arterial pressure remained stable during operation; mean arterial pressure throughout the operation was 90 mm Hg (range: 86-94 mmHg). Arterial blood gases were assessed periodically. Haemoglobin, packed cell volume, and plasma electrolyte concentrations remained within normal limits throughout the operation.

The surgical procedure was completed in 6 h without complications. Patient was reversed by neostigmine and glycopyrrolate and extubated safely. The patient was then shifted to intensive care unit for further monitoring and transferred to the surgical ward on the 1 st postoperative day. Subsequent obstetric and ultrasound checks were normal.

The patient was discharged on the 10 th post operative day and mild improvement in the neurological condition was seen. Caesarean section was performed electively during the 35 th gestational week under general anaesthesia with delivery of a healthy female child of 2.5 kg.

Many anaesthesiologists and surgeons are reluctant to operate on pregnant women because of the risk of inducing premature birth or miscarriage or otherwise damaging the foetus. However, when faced with the clinical indication for urgent or emergency surgery, pregnancy should not affect the decision to proceed. [1] Furthermore, despite the understandable concern, premature labour does not seem to be a frequent outcome of surgery during pregnancy [2] and foetal mortality and morbidity are minimal when surgery is unavoidable. [3] However, the data refer mainly to abdominal surgery (often laparotomy), and recent reports on spinal cord tumours in pregnancy are scarce, in view of the rarity of the association. [4]

As described here, spinal cord tumour can become an emergency, in which case delay in treatment could jeopardise the life of the woman and the foetus. Our case was also distinguished by the site of lesion (intradural extrameduallary), and operating position (semi-prone position), and long duration of the operation. There are few reports in the literature regarding positioning of pregnant patients for surgery, except for delivery itself. [5] We decided to operate with the patient in a semi-prone position, which was made possible by anchoring the patient in left lateral decubitus position to the OR table and giving the OR table a 90° left tilt.

Management of intradural extramedullary tumours in pregnancy must be individualised. The patient's physical condition, gestational age, site, size and type of tumour, and neurological signs, in addition to the patient's wishes, must be considered in the decision-making process. [6]

   References Top

Barron WM. The pregnant surgical patient: Medical evaluation and management. Ann Intern Med 1984;101:683-91.  Back to cited text no. 1
Gianopoulos JG. Establishing the criteria for anesthesia and other precautions for surgery during pregnancy. Surg Clin North Am 1995;75:33-45.  Back to cited text no. 2
Amos JD, Schorr SJ, Norman PF, Poole GV, Thomae KR, Mancino AT, et al. Laparoscopic surgery during pregnancy. Am J Surg 1996;171:435-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
Roelvink NC, Kamphorst W, van Alphen HA, Rao BR. Pregnancy-related primary brain and spinal tumors. Arch Neurol 1987;44:209-15.  Back to cited text no. 4
Smith BE. Obstertrics. In: Martin JT, Warner MA, editors. Positioning in Anesthesia and Surgery. 3 rd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Company; 1997. p. 267-79.  Back to cited text no. 5
Pliskow S, Herbst SJ, Saiontz HA, Cove H, Ackerman RT. Intracranial meningioma with positive progesterone receptors. A case report. J Reprod Med 1995;40:154-6.  Back to cited text no. 6


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


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