Spinal epidural hematoma is a well known complication of spinal surgery. Clinically insignificant small epidural hematomas develop in most spinal surgeries following laminectomy. However, the incidence of clinically significant postoperative spinal epidural hematomas that result in neurological deficits is extremely rare. In this report, we present a 33-year-old female patient whose spinal surgery resulted in postoperative spinal epidural hematoma. She was diagnosed with lumbar disc disease and underwent hemipartial lumbar laminectomy and discectomy. After twelve hours postoperation, her neurologic status deteriorated and cauda equina syndrome with acute spinal epidural hematoma was identified. She was immediately treated with surgical decompression and evacuation of the hematoma. The incidence of epidural hematoma after spinal surgery is rare, but very serious complication. Spinal epidural hematomas can cause significant spinal cord and cauda equina compression, requiring surgical intervention. Once diagnosed, the patient should immediately undergo emergency surgical exploration and evacuation of the hematoma.
We present a rare case of delayed onset of epidural hematoma after lumbar surgery whose only presenting symptom was vesicorectal disturbance. A 68-year-old man with degenerative spinal stenosis underwent lumbar decompression and instrumented posterolateral spine fusion. The day after his discharge following an unremarkable postoperative course, he presented to the emergency room complaining of difficulty in urination. An MRI revealed an epidural fluid collection causing compression of the thecal sac. The fluid was evacuated, revealing a postoperative hematoma. After removal of the hematoma, his symptoms disappeared immediately, and his urinary function completely recovered. Most reports have characterized postoperative epidural hematoma as occurring early after operation and accompanied with neurological deficits. But it can happen even two weeks after spinal surgery with no pain. Surgeons thus may need to follow up patients for at least a few weeks because some complications, such as epidural hematomas, could take that long to manifest themselves.
A 67-year-old man with degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis and a medical history significant for coronary artery disease underwent routine lumbar surgical decompression. The objective of this study was to report a case of postoperative epidural hematoma associated with the use of emergent anticoagulation, including the dangers associated with spinal decompression and early postoperative anticoagulation.
After anticoagulation therapy for postoperative myocardial ischemia, the patient developed paresis with ascending abdominal paraesthesias. Immediate decompression of the surgical wound was carried out at the bedside. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a massive spinal epidural hematoma extending from the middle of the cervical spine to the sacrum. Emergent cervical, thoracic, and revision lumbar laminectomy without fusion was performed to decompress the spinal canal and evacuate the hematoma.
Motor and sensory function returned to normal by 14 days postoperatively, but bowel and bladder function continued to be impaired. Postoperative radiographs showed that coronal and sagittal spinal alignment did not change significantly after extensive laminectomy.
Full anticoagulation should be avoided in the early postoperative period. In cases requiring early vigorous anticoagulation, patients should be closely monitored for changes in neurologic status. Combined cervical, thoracic, and lumbar laminectomy, without instrumentation or fusion, is an acceptable treatment option.
Spinal stenosis, lumbar; Spinal decompression; Anticoagulation; Epidural hematoma; Laminectomy
Neurological deficits following epidural or spinal anesthesia are extremely rare. Transient paraplegia following epidural anesthesia in a patient with thoracic disc herniation has been presented. A 44-year-old woman developed paraplegia during the operation for vascular surgery of her legs under epidural anesthesia. Epidural hematoma or spinal cord ischemia was ruled out by magnetic resonance imaging of the thoracic and lumbar spine in which protruded disc at T11-12 level compressing the spinal cord has been verified. Patient responded well to steroid treatment and rehabilitation interventions. Physicians should be aware of preceding disc protrusions, which may have detrimental effects on spinal cord perfusion, as a cause of persistent or transient paraplegia before epidural anesthesia procedure. MRI is a valuable imaging option to rule out epidural anesthesia complications and coexisting pathologies like disc herniations.
We describe a case of acute lumbar epidural hematoma at the L2-3 level complicated by paraplegia, which occurred after coagulation disorder because of massive bleeding intraoperatively in cesarean section. The preoperative coagulation laboratory finding was in normal range and so we tried combined spinal epidural anesthesia. Uterine atony occurred in the operation, and there was persistant bleeding during and after the operation. After the operation, she complained of paresthesia on her both legs and was diagnosed with epidural hematoma (EDH) by radiologic examination. Emergency laminectomy on lumbar spine was carried out for hematoma evacuation and decompression of the epidural space at once. In our experience, massive bleeding during surgery may potentially increase the risk of EDH postoperatively.
Blood coagulation disorder; Cesarean section; Epidural anesthesia; Epidural hematoma; Postpartum hemorrhage; Spinal anesthesia
The addition of thoracic epidural anesthesia to general anesthesia during cardiac surgery may have a beneficial effect on clinical outcome. However, epidural catheter insertion in a patient anticoagulated with heparin may increase the risk of epidural hematoma. We report a case of epidural hematoma in a 55-year-old male patient who had a thoracic epidural placed under general anesthesia preceding uneventful mitral valve replacement and tricuspid valve annular plasty. During the immediate postoperative period and first postoperative day, prothrombin time (PT) and activate partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) were mildly prolonged. On the first postoperative day, he complained of motor weakness of the lower limbs and back pain. An immediate MRI of the spine was performed and it revealed an epidural hematoma at the T5-6 level. Rapid surgical decompression resulted in a recovery of his neurological abnormalities to near normal levels. Management and preventing strategies of epidural hematoma are discussed.
Analgesia; Epidural; Hematoma; Postoperative complications; Spinal
Early postoperative MRI after spinal surgery is difficult to interpret because of confounding postoperative mass effects and frequent occurrence of epidural hematomas. Purpose of this prospective study is to evaluate prevalence, extent and significance of hematoma in the first postoperative week in asymptomatic patients after decompression for lumbar stenosis and to determine the degree of clinically significant dura compression by comparing with the patients with postoperative symptoms. MRI was performed in 30 asymptomatic patients (47 levels) in the first week after lumbar spine decompression for degenerative stenosis. Eleven patients requiring surgical revision (16 levels) for symptomatic early postoperative hematoma were used for comparison. In both groups the cross-sectional area of the maximum dural compression (bony stenosis and dural sac expansion) was measured preoperatively and postoperatively by an experienced radiologist. Epidural hematoma was seen in 42.5% in asymptomatic patients (20/47 levels). The median area of postoperative hematoma at the operated level was 176 mm2 in asymptomatic patients and 365 mm2 in symptomatic patients. The median cross-sectional area of the dural sac at the operated level was 128.5 and 0 mm2 in asymptomatic and symptomatic patients, respectively, at the site of maximal compression. In the symptomatic group 75% of the patients had a maximal postoperative dural sac area of 58.5 mm2 or less, whereas in the asymptomatic group 75% of patients with epidural hematoma had an area of 75 mm2 or more. The size of hematoma and the degree of dural sac compression were significantly larger in patients with symptoms needing surgical revision. Dural sac area of less than 75 mm2 in early postoperative MRI was found to be the threshold for clinical significance.
Epidural hematoma; Early postoperative MRI; Spinal stenosis; Neural compression
The purpose of this study was to report a case with post-traumatic spinal epidural hematomas with abnormal neurologic findings, which is uncommon. A 40-year-old man presented at our clinic after a blunt trauma caused by a traffic accident in which he was a pedestrian. After admission, abnormal neurologic symptoms developed including loss of sensation and motor function in his left lower extremity. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a spinal epidural hematoma with 40% canal stenosis at the L5-S1 level. Decompression including hematoma evacuation was done. Symptoms started to be reduced 18 days after operation. He was treated conservatively with medications and all symptoms resolved completely during admission and there were no further neurologic sequelae. Post-traumatic lumbar spinal epidural hematoma with abnormal neurologic findings is an uncommon condition that may present belatedly after trauma with significant neurologic compromise.
Lumbar spine; Epidural hematoma; Neurology
Closed-suction drainage is commonly used for prevention of postoperative hematoma and associated neurologic compromise after lumbar decompression, but it remains unclear whether suction drainage reduces postoperative complications.
We evaluated the efficacy of closed-suction drainage in single-level lumbar decompression surgery.
Patients and Methods
We retrospectively reviewed 560 patients who underwent single-level lumbar decompression or discectomy. We routinely used closed-suction drainage in all spinal surgeries until July 2003, and thereafter, we did not use drains in single-level lumbar decompression surgery. These two groups (298 patients in the group that received drains, 262 in the group that did not receive drains) were compared for rates of wound infection and epidural hematoma.
Mean operating time (55 versus 56 minutes) and intraoperative blood loss (64 versus 57 mL) were not different between the two groups. None of 560 patients had a wound infection requiring surgical intervention. The rate of postoperative hematoma was 0.7% in the group that received drains (two of 298 patients) and 0% in the group that did not receive drains (zero of 262 patients).
In this study, the risk of wound infection and hematomas in single-level lumbar decompression surgery was not influenced by use of a drain. The use of postoperative wound drainage in patients with potential risk for epidural bleeding in situations such as multiple-level decompression, instrumentation surgery, anticoagulant therapy, trauma, and tumors or metastases needs additional study.
Level of Evidence
Level III, prognostic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
Intracranial hemorrhage is a serious but rare complication of spinal surgery, which can occur in the intracerebral, cerebellar, epidural, or subdural compartment.
To describe patients with intracranial hemorrhage after lumbar spinal surgery and present clinical and diagnostic imaging findings.
In this retrospective study, medical records of 1,077 patients who underwent lumbar spinal surgery in our tertiary referral neurosurgery center between January 2003 and September 2010 were studied. The original presentations of the patients before the surgical intervention were herniated lumbar disc, spinal canal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, lumbar spinal trauma, and lumbar spine and epidural tumor. The operations performed consisted of discectomy, multiple level laminectomy, stabilization and fusion, lumbar instrumentation, and lumbar spinal and epidural tumor resection.
Four cases developed intracranial hemorrhage including acute subdural hematoma (one case), epidural hematoma (one case), and remote cerebellar hemorrhage (two cases). The clinical and diagnostic imaging characteristics along with treatments performed and outcomes of these four patients are described and the pertinent literature regarding post-lumbar spinal surgery intracranial hemorrhages is reviewed.
Though rare, intracranial hemorrhage can occur following lumbar spinal surgery. This complication may be asymptomatic or manifest with intense headache at early stages any time during the first week after surgery. Dural tear, bloody CSF leakage, focal neurologic symptoms, and headache are indicators of potential intracranial hemorrhage, which should be considered during or following surgery and necessitate diagnostic imaging.
Intracranial hemorrhage; Lumbar spine surgery; Remote cerebellar hemorrhage; Subdural hematoma; Epidural hematoma
Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH), typically presents with orthostatic headache, low pressure on lumbar tapping, and diffuse pachymeningeal enhancement on magnetic resonance imaging. SIH is often accompanied by subdural fluid collections, which in most cases responds to conservative treatment or spinal epidural blood patch. Several authors advocate that large subdural hematoma with acute deterioration merits surgical drainage; however, few have reported complications following craniotomy. We describe a complicated case of SIH, which was initially diagnosed as acute subarachnoid hemorrhage with bilateral chronic subdural hematoma (SDH), due to unusual presentation. Burr hole drainage of subdural hematoma was performed due to progressive decrease of consciousness, which then resulted in a huge postoperative epidural hematoma collection. Prompt hematoma evacuation did not restore the patient's consciousness but aggravated downward brain herniation. Trendelenburg position and spinal epidural blood patch achieved a rapid improvement in patient's consciousness. This case indicates that the surgical drainage for chronic SDH in SIH can lead to serious complications and it should be cautiously considered.
Chronic subdural hematoma; craniotomy; spontaneous intracranial hypotension; subarachnoid hemorrhage
Postoperative epidural hematoma (EDH) usually present with neurological deficit. Massive EDH presenting with only severe pain without neurological deficit are rare. Atypical presentations of postoperative EDHs may lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment. We present three such cases after posterior cervical spine surgery. Three patients presented with severe neck pain and spasms without motor deficits several days after posterior cervical decompressive procedures. Imaging studies identified compressive EDHs at the surgical site with severe compression of the spinal cord. All were treated with emergent decompression, with resulting improvement of symptoms and pain relief without further neurological sequelae. In conclusion, postoperative EDHs after posterior cervical spine surgery may result in minimal neurological deficit. Our report reminds surgeons to keep this possibility in mind when patients complain of unusually severe neck pain and spasms after posterior cervical spine surgery.
Cervical spine; Epidural hematoma; Postoperative complication
Spontaneously occurring spinal epidural hematomas are uncommon clinical findings, and the chronic form is the rarest and its most frequent location is the lumbar spine. Pure radicular involvement is far less frequent than myelopathy. We report a case of progressive radiculopathy in a 52-year-old man with spontaneously occurring cervical epidural hematoma (SCEH). The patient had left hand weakness and numbness for 4 months. MRI scan showed small space-occupying lesion around left 8th cervical nerve root. After surgery we confirmed chronic organizing epidural hematoma. To the best of our knowledge, this is the second reported case in the worldwide literature of pure radiculopathy in a patient with chronic SCEH.
Spontaneous epidural hematoma; Radiculopathy; Chronic
Although postoperative spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) is not uncommon, hematomas that require surgery are rare. Cauda equina syndrome (CES) may be associated with postoperative SEH. In these cases, early recognition and emergency decompression can prevent further damage and better neurologic recovery.
A 41-year-old man underwent two-level discectomy with insertion of an interspinous spacer at L3-4 and L4-5 because of low back pain and radiculopathy. Eight hours after the operation, the patient developed CES. MRI revealed SEH compressing posteriorly at the L3-4 level. On emergency decompression and hematoma evacuation, the interspinous spacer had obstructed the laminotomy site at L3-4 completely, blocking drainage to the drain. The patient experienced complete neurologic recovery by 2 months followup.
Many studies report risk factors for SEH. However, postoperative SEH can also be encountered in patients without these risks. One study reported a critical ratio (preoperative versus postoperative cross-sectional area) correlated with postoperative symptoms, especially in those with CES. The propensity to develop CES is likely dependent on a number of patient-specific factors.
Surgeons should be aware that patients without risk factors may develop acute CES. Wider laminotomy (larger than half of the device size) may help to prevent this complication when one uses the compressible type of device, especially in patients with relatively small lamina.
Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH) is a rare disease entity; its causative factors and the factors determining the outcome are still controversial. We reviewed our clinical experiences and analyzed the various factors related to the outcome for SSEH. We investigated 14 patients (11 men and 3 women) who underwent hematoma removal for SSEH from April 1998 to August 2004. We reviewed age, gender, hypertension, anticoagulant use and the preoperative neurological status using the Japanese Orthopaedics Association score by examining medical records, operative records, pathology reports, and radiographies, retrospectively. We were checking for factors such as the degree of cord compression owing to hematoma and the extent and location of the hematoma. Most patients included in the study were in their twenties or fifties. Four hematoma were located in the cervical region (29%), three were cervicothoracic (21%), four were thoracic (29%) and three were in the lumbar (21%) region and also 12 were located at the dorsal aspect of the spinal cord. In all cases, the neurological outcome improved after the surgical operation. There was a statistically significant difference between the incomplete and complete neurological injury for the preoperative status (P<0.05). The neurological outcome was good in those cases that had their hematoma removed within 24 h (P<0.05). The patients with incomplete neurological injury who had a surgical operation performed within 12 h had an excellent surgical outcome (P<0.01). Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma was favorably treated by the means of a surgical operation. The favorable factors for SSEH operations were incomplete neurological injury at the time of the preoperative status and the short operative time interval.
Epidural hematoma; Cord injury; Operative time interval; Spine surgery
Many studies have reported spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH). Although most cases are idiopathic, several are associated with thrombolytic therapy or anticoagulants. We report a case of SSEH coincident with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), which caused serious neurological deficits. A 56 year old man presented with chest pain accompanied with back and neck pain, which was regarded as an atypical symptom of AMI. He was treated with nitroglycerin, aspirin, low molecular weight heparin, and clopidogrel. A spinal magnetic resonance image taken after paraplegia developed 3 days after the initial symptoms revealed an epidural hematoma at the cervical and thoracolumbar spine. Despite emergent decompressive surgery, paraplegia has not improved 7 months after surgery. A SSEH should be considered when patients complain of abrupt, strong, and non-traumatic back and neck pain, particularly if they have no spinal pain history.
Acute myocardial infarction; Hematoma, epidural, spinal; Paraplegia; Thrombolytic therapy; Anticoagulants
The aim of this report is to present a case of spontaneous regression of traumatic lumbar epidural hematomas.
A 45-year-old man presented at our clinic after falling from a height. After admission, anterior compression was detected by X-ray, so lumbar spinal CT was performed. For ligament damage, emergency MR was performed. There was acute hematoma at 1 cm diameter, which began at the L3 vertebra superior surface and spread to L4 vertebra corpus; therefore the patient was informed and surgery recommended. The patient rejected the surgery, and medical management was designed. At day 45, lumbar MRI was performed. There was no evidence of traumatic epidural hematoma.
The purpose of this study is to report a case with post-traumatic spinal epidural hematomas with normal neurologic findings and spontaneous regression.
trauma; spınal epıydural hematoma; spontaneus resorbsion
Posterior epidural migration of thoracic disc herniation is extremely rare but may occur in the same manner as in the lumbar spine.
A 53-year-old Japanese man experienced sudden onset of incomplete paraplegia after lifting a heavy object. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a posterior epidural mass compressing the spinal cord at the T9-T10 level. The patient underwent emergency surgery consisting of laminectomy at T9-T10 with right medial facetectomy, removal of the mass lesion, and posterior instrumented fusion. Histological examination of the mass lesion yielded findings consistent with sequestered disc material. His symptoms resolved, and he was able to resume walking without a cane 4 weeks after surgery.
Pre-operative diagnosis of posterior epidural migration of herniated thoracic disc based on magnetic resonance imaging alone may be overlooked, given the rarity of this pathology. However, this entity should be considered among the differential diagnoses for an enhancing posterior thoracic extradural mass.
Intervertebral disc herniation; Posterior migration; Thoracic spine
Bilateral extradural hematomas have only rarely been reported in the literature. Even rarer are cases where the hematomas develop sequentially, one after removal of the other. Among 187 cases of operated epidural hematomas during past 4 years in our hospital, we found one case of sequentially developed bilateral epidural hematoma.
An 18-year-old conscious male worker was admitted to our hospital after a fall. After deterioration of his consciousness, an emergency brain CT scan showed a right temporoparietal epidural hematoma. The hematoma was evacuated, but the patient did not improve afterwards. Another CT scan showed contralateral epidural hematoma and the patient was reoperated. Postoperatively, the patient recovered completely.
This case underlines the need for monitoring after an operation for an epidural hematoma and the need for repeat brain CT scans if the patient does not recover quickly after removal of the hematoma, especially if the first CT scan has been done less than 6 hours after the trauma. Intraoperative brain swelling can be considered as a clue for the development of contralateral hematoma.
bialteral; epidual; hematoma
The purpose of this case report is to describe a rare case of a cervicothoracic spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) after anterior cervical spine surgery. A 60-year-old man complained of severe neck and arm pain 4 hours after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion at the C5-6 level. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a postoperative SEH extending from C1 to T4. Direct hemostasis and drainage of loculated hematoma at the C5-6 level completely improved the patient's condition. When a patient complains of severe neck and/or arm pain after anterior cervical spinal surgery, though rare, the possibility of a postoperative SEH extending to non-decompressed, adjacent levels should be considered as with our case.
Cervical spine; Complication; Hematoma
Spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) represents the most frequent entity of acute or chronic spinal bleeding. Based upon pathogenesis, SEH can be classified as idiopathic, spontaneous, and secondary. The idiopathic forms are considered not to be attributed to any specific risk factors. Spontaneous SEH, accounting for 0.3–0.9% of all spinal epidural space occupying lesions, instead is associated with risk factors (such as substantial soft trauma or coagulation abnormalities). The chronic form, as our literature review revealed, is the rarest and its most frequent location is the lumbar spine. The pathophysiology of spontaneous and idiopathic SEH is still under debate: There are only a few reports in literature of chronically evolving SEH with progressively increasing pain and neurological impairment. Magnetic resonance imaging may be inconclusive for differential diagnosis. Here, we present two cases of lumbar chronic SEH with slow, progressive, and persistent lumbar radicular impairment. The first patient reported a minor trauma with slight back contusion and thus was classified as spontaneous SEH. In the second case not even a minor trauma was involved, so we considered it to be idiopathic SEH. In both cases preoperative blood and coagulation tests were normal and we did not find any other or co-factors in the patients’ clinical histories. MR imaging showed uncertain spinal canal obstructing lesions at L3 and L4 level in both cases. Surgical treatment allowed a correct diagnosis and resulted in full clinical and neuroradiological recovery after 1 year follow-up. Our aim is to discuss pathogenesis, clinical and radiological features, differential diagnosis and treatment options, on the background of relevant literature review.
Spontaneous; Idiopathic; Chronic; Hematoma; Epidural; Spinal
Epidural bleeding as a complication of catheterization or epidural catheter removal is often associated with perioperative thromboprophylaxis especially in adult reconstructive surgery.
We report on a case of a 19 years old male athlete that underwent anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, receiving low molecular weight heparin for thromboprophylaxis and developed an epidural hematoma and subsequent cauda equina syndrome two days after removal of the epidural catheter. An urgent magnetic resonance imaging scan revealed an epidural hematoma from the level of L3 to L4. Emergent decompression and hematoma evacuation resulted in patient's significant neurological improvement immediately postoperatively.
A high index of clinical suspicion and surgical intervention are necessary to prevent such potentially disabling complications especially after procedures on a day-case basis and early patient's discharge.
Most cases of neurological deterioration after laminectomy for cervical radiculomyelopathy occur several weeks to months postoperatively, except when there has been direct trauma to the spinal cord or nerve roots during surgery. Four patients are described who developed episodes of neurological deterioration during the postoperative recovery period that could not be attributed to direct intraoperative trauma nor to epidural haematoma or instability of the cervical spine as a consequence of laminectomy. Following laminectomy for cervical radiculomyelopathy four patients were unchanged neurologically from their pre-operative examinations, but as they were raised into the upright position for the first time following surgery focal neurological deficits referrable to the spinal cord developed. Hypotension was present in all four cases during these episodes and three of the four patients had residual central cervical cord syndromes. These cases represent the first reported instances of spinal cord ischaemia occurring with post-operative hypotensive episodes after decompression for cervical spondylosis.
There are no reports of a 7-day delay in the onset of neurological deterioration because of a spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) after a spinal fracture. A hematoma was detected from the T12 to L2 area in a 36-year-old male patient with a T12 burst fracture. On the same day, the patient underwent in situ posterior pedicle instrumentation on T10-L3 with no additional laminectomy. On the seventh postoperative day, the patient suddenly developed weakness and sensory changes in both extremities, together with a sharp pain. A MRI showed that the hematoma had definitely increased in size. A partial laminectomy was performed 12 hours after the onset of symptoms. Two days after surgery, recovery of neurological function was noted. This case shows that spinal surgeons need to be aware of the possible occurrence of a delayed aggravated SEH and neurological deterioration after a spinal fracture.
Spinal epidural hematoma; Spine fracture; Neurology
Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma is a relatively rare but potentially disabling disease. Prompt timely surgical management may promote recovery even in severe cases.
We report a 34-year-old man with a 2-hour history of sudden severe back pain, followed by weakness and numbness over the bilateral lower limbs, progressing to intense paraparesis and anesthesia. A spinal magnetic resonance imaging scan was performed and revealed an anterior epidural hematoma of the thoracic spine. He underwent an emergency decompression laminectomy of the thoracic spine and hematoma evacuation. Just after surgery, his lower extremity movements improved. After 1 week, there was no residual weakness and ambulation without assistance was resumed, with residual paresthesia on the plantar face of both feet. After 5 months, no residual symptoms persisted.
The diagnosis of spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma must be kept in mind in cases of sudden back pain with symptoms of spinal cord compression. Early recognition, accurate diagnosis and prompt surgical treatment may result in significant improvement even in severe cases.