Sciatica is the most frequently encountered symptom in neurosurgical practice and is observed in 40% of adults at some point in their lives. It is described as pain of the hip and the lower extremity secondary to pathologies affecting the sciatic nerve within its intraspinal or extraspinal course. The most frequent cause is a herniating lumbar disc pressing on the neural roots. Extraspinal causes of sciatic pain are usually overlooked because they are extremely rare and due to intraspinal causes (lumbar spinal stenosis, facet joint osteoarthritis, fracture, and tumors of the spinal cord and spinal column) being the main consideration. Early diagnosis of sciatica significantly improves the likelihood of relieving symptoms, as well as avoiding any additional neurologic injury and unnecessary surgery. We evaluate histolopathologically confirmed extraspinal causes of sciatica cases, accompanied by their presented computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging findings.
The lumbar intraspinal epidural ganglion cyst has been a rare cause of the low back pain or leg pain. Ganglion cysts and synovial cysts compose the juxtafacet cysts. Extensive studies have been performed about the synovial cysts, however, very little has been known about the ganglion cyst. Current report is about two ganglion cysts associated with implicative findings in young male patients. We discuss about the underlying pathology of the ganglion cyst based on intraoperative evidences, associated disc herniation at the same location or severe degeneration of the ligament flavum that the cyst originated from in young patients.
Ganglion cyst; Synovial cyst
To describe two patients with lumbar facet synovial cysts causing sciatica and progressive neurological deficit.
A 52-year-old female with bilateral sciatica and a neurological deficit that progressed to a foot drop; and a 54-year-old female with worsening sciatica and progressive calf weakness were seen at a major tertiary care centre. Diagnostic imaging studies revealed the presence of spinal nerve root impingement by large facet synovial cysts.
Interventions and Outcomes:
Activity modification, gabapentinoid and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications were unsuccessful in ameliorating either patient’s symptoms. One patient had been receiving ongoing lumbar chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy despite the onset of a progressive neurological deficit. Both patients eventually required surgery to remove the cyst and decompress the affected spinal nerve roots.
Patients with acute sciatica who develop a progressive neurological deficit while under care, require prompt referral for axial imaging and surgical consultation. Primary care spine clinicians need to be aware of lumbar facet synovial cysts as a possible cause of acute sciatica and the associated increased risk of the patient developing a progressive neurological deficit.
synovial cyst; facet joint; progressive neurological deficits, radiculopathy; chiropractic; kyste synovial; facette vertébrale; déficits neurologiques progressifs, radiculopathie; chiropratique
Sciatica is a common problem, usually caused by disc herniation or spinal stenosis. Low back pain is also present in most cases. When sciatica is the unique clinical finding, especially in young patients, extraspinal pathology should be investigated.
We describe a rare case of sciatica in a 32-year-old man, which was developed as a complication of post-traumatic pelvic heterotopic ossification. During the operation, the sciatic nerve was found to be bluish, distorted and compressed in an hourglass fashion around a heterotopic bone mass. The heterotopic bone tissue, 4 cm in diameter, was removed and the patient had fully recovered 3 months after the operation.
In cases of sciatica without back pain, the possibility of direct pressure of the sciatic nerve from cysts, tumours or bone, as in the present case, should be considered.
Ganglion cysts usually arise from the tissues around the facet joints. It is usually associated with degenerative cahanges in facet joints. Bilateral thoracic ganglion cysts are very rare and there is no previous case that located in bilateral intervertebral foramen compressing the L1 nerve root associated with severe radiculopathy. We report a 53 years old woman who presented with bilateral groin pain and severe numbness. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed bilateral cystic mass in the intervertebral foramen between 12th thoracal and 1st lumbar vertebrae. The cystic lesions were removed after bilateral exposure of Th12-L1 foramens. The result of hystopathology confirmed the diagnosis as ganglion cyst. The ganglion cyst may compromise lumbar dorsal ganglion when it located in the intervertebral foramen. The surgeon should keep this rare entity in their mind for differential diagnosis.
Ganglion cyst; Radiculopathy; Synovial cyst; Thoracic spine
Lumbar epidural varices are rare and usually mimick lumbar disc herniations. Back pain and radiculopathy are the main symptoms of lumbar epidural varices. Perineural cysts are radiologically different lesions and should not be confused with epidural varix. A 36-year-old male patient presented to us with right leg pain. The magnetic resonance imaging revealed a cystic lesion at S1 level that was compressing the right root, and was interpreted as a perineural cyst. The patient underwent surgery via right L5 and S1 hemilaminectomy, and the lesion was coagulated and removed. The histopathological diagnosis was epidural varix. The patient was clinically improved and the follow-up magnetic resonance imaging showed the absence of the lesion. Lumbar epidural varix should be kept in mind in the differential diagnosis of the cystic lesions which compress the spinal roots.
Epidural; Varix; Perineural cyst; Surgery
Sciatica is commonly caused by lumbar prolapsed intervertebral disc (PID) and other spinal lesions. Uncommon causes like nerve root schwannoma are rarely considered in the differential diagnosis of sciatica. Spinal schwannomas occur both sporadically and in association with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1; von Recklinghausen's disease).
This case report describes lumbar foraminal schwannoma as an unusual cause of radiculopathy, presenting clinically as a lumbar disc prolapse. The diagnosis was confirmed on MRI scan. Patient had complete symptomatic recovery following surgical enucleation of the tumour mass from the L5 nerve root. This case report is of particular interest as it highlights the diagnostic confusion, which is bound to arise, because the clinical presentation closely mimics a lumbar PID. This often leads to delay in diagnosis and “failure of conservative treatment.”
Three Chinese patients suffered from severe lumbar spinal stenosis with debilitating symptoms due to a rare condition of ligamentum flavum cysts in the midline of the lumbar spine. This disease is distinct from synovial cyst of the facet joints or ganglion cysts, both intraoperatively and histopathologically. Magnetic Resonance imaging features of the ligamentum flavum cyst are also demonstrated. We share our surgical experiences of identification of the ligamentum flavum cysts, decompression and excision for two of the patients with demonstrably good recovery. This disease should be considered in the differential diagnosis of an extradural instraspinal mass in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis.
Intervertebral disk herniation is relatively common. Migration usually occurs in the ventral epidural space; rarely, disks migrate to the dorsal epidural space due to the natural anatomical barriers of the thecal sac.
A 49-year-old man presented with 1 week of severe back pain with bilateral radiculopathy to the lateral aspect of his lower extremities and weakness of the ankle dorsiflexors and toe extensors. Lumbar spine magnetic resonance imaging with gadolinium revealed a peripheral enhancing dorsal epidural lesion with severe compression of the thecal sac. Initial differential diagnosis included spontaneous hematoma, synovial cyst, and epidural abscess. Posterior lumbar decompression was performed; intraoperatively, the lesion was identified as a large herniated disk fragment.
Dorsal migration of a herniated intervertebral disk is rare and may be difficult to definitively diagnose preoperatively. Dorsal disk migration may present in a variety of clinical scenarios and, as in this case, may mimic other epidural lesions on magnetic resonance imaging.
Vertebral disk, herniation; Back pain, radiculopathy; Abscess, epidural; Hematoma, epidural; Laminectomy; Decompression, lumbar
Discal cyst is a rare lesion that can result in clinical symptoms typical of disc herniation manifesting as a unilateral single nerve root lesion. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first reported case of discal cyst resulting in bilateral radiculopathy.
A 48-year-old female presented with bilateral sciatica and neurogenic claudication for 3 months. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed an extradural cystic lesion compressing the ventral aspect of the thecal sac at the level of the L3-L4 intervertebral disc. The lesion showed low and high signal intensities on T1- and T2-weighted images, respectively. Total excision of the cyst was achieved after a left hemipartial laminectomy of L3, and an obvious communication with the disc space was found. Bilateral sciatica was immediately resolved after surgery, and was sustained at the two-year follow-up. The histological diagnosis was consistent with a discal cyst.
Although a discal cyst is extremely rare, the possibility of a discal cyst should be considered in differential diagnosis of patients with radiculopathy, particularly when encountering any extradural mass lesion ventral to the thecal sac. Surgical resection is the most employed therapeutic method for symptomatic lumbar discal cysts.
Bilateral; discal cyst; lumbar spinal stenosis; radiculopathy
Spinal dural meningoceles and diverticula are meningeal cysts that have a myriad of clinical presentations and sequelae, secondary to local mass effect. Our objective is to report a technical case report, illustrating a traumatic spinal injury with multiple pedicle fractures, secondary to atrophic lumbar pedicles as well as the diagnostic workup and surgical management of this problem. Posterior lumbar decompression, resection of the meningeal cyst, ligation of the cyst ostium, instrumentation, and fusion were performed with the assistance of intraoperative isocentric fluoroscopy. The cyst's point of communication was successfully located with intraoperative fluoroscopy and the lesion was successfully excised. We suggest that patients with traumatic spinal injuries, having evidence of pre-existing anomalous bony architecture, undergo advanced imaging studies, to rule out intraspinal pathology. The positive clinical and radiographic results support the removal and closure of the pre-existing meningeal cyst at the time of treatment of traumatic spinal injury. Intraoperative isocentric fluoroscopy is a helpful tool in the operative management of these lesions.
Arachnoid cyst; Cerebrospinal fluid diverticula; extradural meningeal cyst; spinal meningeal cyst; thin pedicles
Sciatica-like leg pain can be the main presenting symptom in patients with cervical cord compression. It is a false localizing presentation, which may lead to missed or delayed diagnosis, resulting in the wrong plan of management, especially in the presence of concurrent lumbar lesions. Medical history, physical findings and the results of imaging studies were reviewed in two cases of cervical cord compressions, which presented with sciatica-like leg pain. There was multi-level cervical spondylosis with cord compression in the first patient and the second patient had two levels of cervical disc herniation with cord compression. In both cases, there were co-existing lumbar lesions, which could be responsible for the presentation of the leg pain. Cervical blocks were diagnostic in identifying the level responsible for the leg pain and it was confirmed so after cervical decompressive surgery in both cases, which brought significant pain relief. Funicular leg pain is a rare presentation of cervical cord compression. It is a referred pain due to the irritation of the ascending spinothalamic tract. Cervical blocks were successful in identifying the cause of funicular pain in our cases and this may pave the way for further studies to establish the role of cervical blocks as a diagnostic tool for funicular pain caused by cord compression.
Cord compression; Cervical blocks; False localizing signs; Sciatica; Tract pain; Funicular pain
To quantitatively evaluate the asymmetry of the multifidus and psoas muscles in unilateral sciatica caused by lumbar disc herniation using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Seventy-six patients who underwent open microdiscectomy for unilateral L5 radiculopathy caused by disc herniation at the L4-5 level were enrolled, of which 39 patients (51.3%) had a symptom duration of 1 month or less (group A), and 37 (48.7%) had a symptom duration of 3 months or more (group B). The cross-sectional areas (CSAs) of the multifidus and psoas muscles were measured at the mid-portion of the L4-5 disc level on axial MRI, and compared between the diseased and normal sides in each group.
The mean symptom duration was 0.6±0.4 months and 5.4±2.7 months for groups A and B, respectively (p<0.001). There were no differences in the demographics between the 2 groups. There was a significant difference in the CSA of the multifidus muscle between the diseased and normal sides (p<0.01) in group B. In contrast, no significant multifidus muscle asymmetry was found in group A. The CSA of the psoas muscle was not affected by disc herniation in either group.
The CSA of the multifidus muscle was reduced by lumbar disc herniation when symptom duration was 3 months or more.
Multifidus; Psoas; Cross-sectional area; Lumbar disc herniation
Ganglion cysts usually arise from the tendon sheaths and tissues around the joints. It is usually associated with degenerative arthritic changes in older people. Ganglion cyst in the spine is rare and there is no previous report on case that located in the intervertebral foramen and compressed dorsal root ganglion associated severe radiculopathy. A 29-year-old woman presented with severe left thigh pain and dysesthesia for a month. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a dumbbell like mass in the intervertebral foramen between second and third lumbar vertebrae on the left side. The lesion was removed after exposure of the L2-L3 intervertebral foramen. The histological examination showed fragmented cystic wall-like structure composed of fibromyxoid tissue but there was no lining epithelium. A ganglion cyst may compromise lumbar dorsal root ganglion when it located in the intervertebral foramen. Although it is very rare location, ganglion cyst should be included in the differential diagnosis for intervertebral foraminal mass lesions.
Ganglion cyst; Radiculopathy; Lumbar vertebra; Posterior longitudinal ligament
Juxtafacet cysts of the lumbar spine are extradural degenerative lesions associated with symptoms of lower back pain and radiculopathy. Surgical treatment is indicated when there is failure of conservative measures. Primary spinal fusion at the time of surgical excision of the cyst is a matter of controversy. Few reports have described long-term follow-up for surgical treatment of spinal cysts.
The purpose of this study is to assess the long-term outcome of the surgical excision of a Juxtafacet cyst without spinal fusion.
This is a retrospective case series study, level IV evidence.
Materials and Methods:
This is a retrospective case series study on 13 patients with Juxtafacet cysts, who were treated with surgical excision of the cysts without spinal fusion. A questionnaire scoring system was used for evaluation of the surgical outcome.
The study was conducted on 13 patients, seven females (54%) and six males (46%), their age ranging from 38 to 69 years, with a mean age of 52 (±9.93 STD) years. The mean duration of the symptoms was 10.5 (±6.22 STD) months. All patients got benefit from surgery, with six excellent (46%), six good (46%), and one fair outcome (8%), with no surgery-related complications. The mean follow-up period of the patients at the time of this study was 4.2 years (±1.43 STD).
Long-term follow-up for surgical excision of symptomatic Juxtafacet cysts without spinal fusion revealed excellent to good results in 92% of the patients, with a satisfaction rate of 80% (±8.41 STD).
Facet joint; ganglion cyst; Juxtafacet cyst; radiculopathy; synovial cyst
Of 47 patients with lumbar disc disease and sciatic radiculopathy (L-5 or S-1), 39 were successfully managed at home and as outpatients in an ambulatory care facility designed for the treatment of arthritis and back pain. When these patients were evaluated one to three years following discharge, they maintained their maximum level of activity and functional improvement noted at discharge. The average total cost per patient including physician's fees, x-rays, laboratory and therapy was approximately equivalent to the day rate for 1½ days in hospital.
Gridhrasi can be equated with sciatica, where pain, weakness, numbness, and other discomforts along the path of the sciatic nerve often accompanies low back pain. It is a common affliction of adults, costing billions of dollars in healthcare and resulting in more lost days of work than any other illness but the common cold. A herniated disc, spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome, etc., can all cause sciatica. The treatment available for sciatica in modern medicine is not very satisfactory.The role of research in Ayurveda is to elucidate the underlying principles and to explain them in modern parameters. The present study was aimed at establishing clinically the effect of Nirgundi (Vitex negundo) Ghan Vati (dried water extract) alone as well as in combination with Matra Basti in the management of Gridhrasi. A total of 119 patients were registered for the study, out of which 102 patients completed the treatment: 52 patients in group A (Nirgundi Ghan Vati) and 50 in group B (Nirgundi Ghan Vati + Matra Basti). The results show that both treatments had an effect on Gridhrasi, but there was better relief of the signs and symptoms in group B. Matra Basti and Nirgundi Ghan Vati might both contribute to different extents in the recovery of the patient.
Gridhrasi; sciatica; Nirgundi Ghana vati; Vitex negundo; therapeutic enema; Matra Basti
Indications and timing ¶of surgical treatment for cervical radiculopathy and myelopathy, and the long-term results for the conditions, were reviewed. Advances in spinal imaging and accumulation of clinical experience have provided some clues as to indications and timing of surgery for cervical myelopathy. Duration of myelopathy prior to surgery and the transverse area of the spinal cord at the maximum compression level were the most significant prognostic parameters for surgical outcome. Thus, when myelopathy is caused by etiological factors that are either unchangeable by nature, such as developmental canal stenosis, or progressive, such as ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament, surgical treatment should be considered. When an etiology of myelopathy is remissible, such as soft disc herniation and listhesis, surgery may be reserved until the effects of conservative treatment are confirmed. When surgery is properly carried out, long-term surgical results are expected to be good and stable, and the natural course of myelopathy secondary to cervical spondylosis may be modified. However, little attention has been paid to the questions “When and what can surgery contribute to treatment of cervical radiculopathy?”. A well-controlled clinical study including natural history should be done to provide some answers.
Key words Review; Cervical spondylosis; Treatment outcome; Spinal cord; Spinal nerve root
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is frequently associated with inflammatory lesions of the spine and continuous fatigue stress fractures; however, an association with an intraspinal synovial cyst has not been previously reported. A 55-year-old man with a five year history of AS who presented with back pain and a right radiculopathy was admitted to the hospital. Five years previously, he underwent a percutaneous vertebroplasty for an osteoporotic L1 compression fracture, and was diagnosed with AS at that time. Plain radiographs showed aggravated kyphosis and a stress fracture through the ossified posterior element, below the prior vertebroplasty. Magnetic resonance images revealed a right foraminal cystic lesion at the L2-L3 level with effacement of the nerve root. A 1.6 cm cystic lesion that appeared to arise from the L2-L3 facet joint without direct communication was excised from the L2-L3 foramen. Pathological examination confirmed synovial cyst. The patient's symptoms resolved immediately after surgery except for a mild dysesthesia of the right leg. We report herein a rare case of foraminal synovial cyst associated with AS accompanying posterior element fracture with a review of literature.
Synovial cyst; Ankylosing spondylitis
Synovial cysts of the lumbar spine are an uncommon cause of back and radicular pain. These cysts most frequently present as back pain, followed by chronic progressive radiculopathy or gradual onset of symptoms secondary to spinal canal compromise. Although less common, they can also present with acute spinal cord or root compression symptoms. We report of a case in which hemorrhaging into a right L2-3 facet synovial cyst caused an acute onset of back pain and radiculopathy, requiring surgical excision.
Lumbar spine; Synovial cyst; Hemorrhage
Chemonucleolysis is the nonoperative chemical removal of displaced lumbar disc material. The enzyme chymopapain, which has a wide margin of safety between its effective therapeutic and toxic doses, is effective in the management of sciatica due to a herniated intervertebral disc. The patient will have leg pain as the dominant symptom and a 50% reduction in straight-leg raising with or without bowstring discomfort and crossover pain. Neurologic symptoms and signs are usual, as are abnormal results of contrast studies, which will verify the level of involvement. In 220 randomly selected patients who met criteria for the diagnosis of sciatica due to a herniated intervertebral disc and did not have psychogenic or nonorganic spinal pain, a spinal stenosis or a history of a previous, unsuccessful operation to relieve the sciatica, chemonucleolysis had a success rate of 80%. The only complications were a severe anaphylactic reaction in two patients and lesser, delayed reactions in five others. All of the reactions were successfully treated. Of the 45 patients in whom chemonucleolysis was unsuccessful, 38 underwent a laminectomy. In 3 of the 38 the results of chemonucleolysis were initially good, but later the disc herniation recurred; thus, the long-term treatment failure rate was 1.4%.
This study is designed based on the retrospective analysis of patients treated in the Neurosurgical Department of two major hospitals and review of the literature. The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of surgery and address controversial issues in the treatment of symptomatic lumbar intraspinal synovial cysts. Spinal juxtafacet cysts (synovial and ganglion cysts) are a rare cause of low back and radicular leg pain. Although the relevant reports in the international literature are increasing, the controversy about conservative versus surgical treatment and the need for concomitant fusion still exists. Data from seven patients (age range 58–69 years, mean age 61 years) with low back and radicular leg pain due to a lumbar facet joint cyst were retrospectively analyzed. Demographic data, cyst level, presence of concomitant local pathology, treatment and results of treatment were recorded. A follow-up of at least 6 months (range 6–48 months) was conducted and results were noted. All patients had back pain, while five also experienced unilateral radicular leg pain and one had bilateral leg pain. One patient had neurogenic claudication. MRI identified the cyst and highlighted underlying pathology in all cases. All patients underwent surgical cyst excision. No fusion was performed. Post-operatively, all patients showed a total resolution of symptoms with sustained benefit at final evaluation. Review of the literature revealed a trend towards surgery, as this is correlated to a more favorable outcome compared with conservative treatment. Fusion should be performed on a case-by-case basis only. Surgery is a safe and effective treatment choice in this increasingly appearing ailment. A prospective, randomized trial should clarify issues under debate.
Intraspinal cyst; Synovial cyst; Surgical treatment; Fusion
The pathogenesis of juxtafacet cysts is closely related to degenerative instability of the lumbar spine and degenerative changes in the ligamentum flavum and the facet joint. A 56-year-old man presented with severe right thigh pain and numbness for 1 month after a laminar fracture of the L4 spine. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a heterogenous cystic mass surrounding the facet joint between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae on the right side. Conservative therapy was unsuccessful and the lesion was removed by surgical decompression alone without fusion. The histological examination showed a fragmented, cystic wall-like structure composed of myxoid degenerative tissue without lining epithelium. Here we present this case of a ganglion cyst that appeared to be associated with facet joint instability.
Ganglion cysts; Synovial cyst; Spine
A clinico-radiological analysis of 74 cases of ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament is reported. Eighteen cases (24%) were asymptomatic or only had neck or shoulder pain; 16 cases (22%) showed signs of radiculopathy, and the remaining 40 cases (54%) had myelopathy. Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament developed most frequently at C5, and was rare in thoracic and lumbar regions. Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament led to stenosis of the spinal canal; more marked stenosis caused clinical myelopathy. The data showed that 30% of stenosis caused by ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament was critical for the production of myelopathy.
Degenerative changes in the lumbar spine can be followed by cystic changes. Most reported intraspinal cysts are ganglion or synovial cysts. Ligamentum flavum pseudocyst, as a cystic lesion in the lumbar spine, is a rare and unusual cause of neurologic signs and symptoms and is usually seen in elderly persons (due to degenerative changes). They are preferentially located in the lower lumbar region, while cervical localization is rare. Complete removal of the cyst leads to excellent results and seems to preclude recurrence. We report the case of a right-sided ligamentum flavum cyst occurring at L3–L4 level in a 70-year-old woman, which was surgically removed with excellent postoperative results and complete resolution of symptoms. In addition, we discuss and review reports in the literature.
Ligamentum flavum cyst; Pseudocyst; Radiculopathy; Lumbar spine