Clinical Characteristics and Surgical Outcomes of 2542 Patients With Spinal Schwannomas: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Author Type(s)

Student, Resident/Fellow

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal Title

World Neurosurgery




OBJECTIVE: This study was conducted to systematically analyze the data on the clinical features, surgical treatment, and outcomes of spinal schwannomas.

METHODS: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis under the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A search of bibliographic databases from January 1, 2001, to May 31, 2021, yielded 4489 studies. Twenty-six articles were included in our final qualitative systematic review and quantitative meta-analysis.

RESULTS: Analysis of 2542 adult patients' data from 26 included studies showed that 53.5% were male, and the mean age ranged from 35.8 to 57.1 years. The most common tumor location was the cervical spine (34.2%), followed by the thoracic spine (26.2%) and the lumbar spine (18.5%). Symptom severity was the most common indicator for surgical treatment, with the most common symptoms being segmental back pain, sensory/motor deficits, and urinary dysfunction. Among all patients analyzed, 93.8% were treated with gross total resection, which was associated with better prognosis and less chance of recurrence than subtotal resection. The posterior approach was the most common (87.4% of patients). The average operative time was 4.53 hours (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.18-6.48); the average intraoperative blood loss was 451.88 mL (95% CI, 169.60-1203.95). The pooled follow-up duration was 40.6 months (95% CI, 31.04-53.07). The schwannoma recurrence rate was 5.3%. Complications were particularly low and included cerebrospinal fluid leakage, wound infection, and the sensory-motor deficits. Most of the patients experienced complete recovery or significant improvement of preoperative neurological deficits and pain symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis suggests that segmental back pain, sensory/motor deficits, and urinary dysfunction are the most common symptoms of spinal schwannomas. Surgical resection is the treatment of choice with overall good reported outcomes and particularly low complication rates. gross total resection offers the best prognosis with the slightest chance of tumor recurrence and minimal risk of complications.