Tap on and choose 'Add to Home Screen' to create a shortcut app

Tap on and choose 'Add to Home Screen/Install App' to create a shortcut app

Resection of an Intramedullary Spinal Cord Astrocytoma – Rick Abbott, M.D.

This page was last updated on January 20th, 2023

Identifying the median raphe

Pial vessels penetrating median raphe

Pial vessels penetrating median raphe: The arrows point to small pial vessels that disappear as they turn ventral to penetrate the median raphe.

Pial vessels fo spinal cord penetrating median raphe

Pial vessels penetrating median raphe: Another exam of vessels on dorsal surface of cord disappearing as they turn ventral to penetrate the median raphe.

Opening median raphe

After the median raphe is located, the pia overlying it is cut using a scalpel or Beaver blade. Small bands of pia bridging the raphe are sharply divided as shown here to open the raphe.  This is done for the entire length of the tumor.

Cauterizing pial vessels

Vessels crossing the median raphe are cauterized using a contact Nd/YAG laser as shown here.  The thermal injury is minimal when this laser is set for a 4-watt output.

Spreading median raphe open

The median raphe is gently spread open with the plated bayonet, an instrument developed by Dr. Fred Epstein. Note the vertically oriented vessels lining the wall of the median raphe. They can be used as markers of the raphe.

Debulking the tumor

After biopsy confirmation, an astrocytoma is debulked starting in its dorsal midline and moving toward the tumor’s center.  The resection continues then from the center to the tumor’s margins.  Shown here is the ultrasonic aspriator being used to remove tumor tissue.

Completion of the resection

Intramedullary astrocytomas are infiltrative, so I do not attempt to remove the whole tumor. Rather, work continues until either potentials warn of an impending injury or the consistency of the tumor starts to change toward normal. The goal is an 80%+ resection.


Hemostasis is best accomplished using a hemostatic sponge for tamponade as shown here. Cautery is used only as a last resort as it typically results in injury to the cord of a degree that results in functional loss.

Your donations keep us going

The ISPN Guide is free to use, but we rely on donations to fund our ongoing work and to maintain more than a thousand pages of information created to disseminate the most up-to-date knowledge in the field of paediatric neurosurgery.

By making a donation to The ISPN Guide you are also indirectly helping the many thousands of children around the world whose treatment depends on well-informed surgeons.

Please consider making a donation today.

Use the app

The ISPN Guide can be used as a standalone app, both on mobile devices and desktop computers. It’s quick and easy to use.

Fully featured

Free registration grants you full access to The Guide and host of featured designed to help further your own education.

Stay updated

The ISPN Guide continues to expand both in breadth and depth. Join our mailing list to stay up-to-date with our progress.