Spinal Gorham-Stout syndrome: radiological changes and spinal deformities

Chang-Zhi Du, Song Li, Liang Xu, Qing-Shuang Zhou, Ze-Zhang Zhu, Xu Sun, Yong Qiu


Background: Gorham-Stout syndrome (GSS) involving the spine is a rare clinical entity, and there is a paucity of comprehensive study on its radiological features. We aimed to present the radiological changes and spinal deformities in patients with spinal GSS.
Methods: From January 2005 to December 2017, 11 consecutive GSS patients with spinal deformity were identified. Their medical records and imaging features were retrospectively reviewed. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were used for a precise evaluation of spinal involvement. Posteroanterior and lateral standing radiographs were used to evaluate the spinal deformity.
Results: CT showed multi-level generalized osteolytic lesions, with ill-defined fluid attenuation adjacent to the osseous changes. MRI demonstrated hyperintense signals on both T1- and T2-weighted images, while the unaffected segments showed normal signal intensity. Seven patients (63.6%) had a dominant feature of kyphosis, and 4 (36.4%) had scoliosis when spinal GSS was diagnosed. Kyphosis variably spanned from C7 to L1, averaged 94° (range, 53° to 158°), and was associated with sagittal imbalance in 4 cases. In our series, the apex of kyphosis and scoliosis coincided within the most seriously osteolytic segment. All patients received medication for GSS. Two adolescents taking Boston braces showed a relatively stable deformity. Four patients received long posterior spinal fusion, but two had fusion failure.
Conclusions: CT and MRI investigations are important in the initial diagnosis and continued management for spinal GSS. A typical spinal deformity secondary to GSS presents as kyphosis or kyphoscoliosis, which is usually highly variable but highly concordant with osteolysis in terms of span and apex.