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Schwannosis induced medullary compression in VACTERL syndrome.A 7-year-old boy with a history of VACTERL syndrome was found collapsed in bed. MRI had shown basilar invagination of the skull base and narrowing of the foramen magnum. Angulation, swelling and abnormal high signal at the cervicomedullary junction were felt to be secondary to compression of the medulla. Neuropathologic examination showed bilateral replacement of the medullary tegmentum by an irregularly circumscribed cellular lesion which was composed of elongated GFAP/S 100-positive cells with spindled nuclei and minimal atypia. The pathologic findings were interpreted as intramedullary schwannosis with mass effect. Schwannosis, is observed in traumatized spinal cords where its presence may represent attempted, albeit aberrant, repair by inwardly migrating Schwann cells ofperipheral origin. In our view the compressive effect of the basilar invagination on this boy's medulla was of sufficient magnitude to have caused tumoral medullary schwannosis with resultant intermittent respiratory compromise leading to reflex anoxic seizures.