Article Text


Pathology of radiation myelopathy
  1. R. J. Burns,
  2. A. N. Jones,
  3. J. S. Robertson
  1. Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia
  2. The Department of Pathology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia


    After nothing the rarity of papers describing the pathology of delayed radiation necrosis of the spinal cord, the clinical and pathological findings from four cases are presented. The main pathological features are asymmetric demyelination of the lateral columns and to a lesser degree the posterior and anterior columns of white matter, with coagulative necrosis at the level of irradiation which affected the grey matter to a lesser degree. There is ascending and descending secondary tract degeneration, and poor glial response in the lesions themselves. Vascular changes, mainly hyalilne thickening of arteriolar walls, are present, but not in degree sufficient to explain the primary lesion. The discussion of the pathogenesis of the myelopathy weighs the merits of a primary vascular lesion against those of a primary effect of the radiation on neural tissue. The latter is favoured.

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