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 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.
Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH) is a rare idiopathic condition that leads to acute onset of neurological deficits, which if not recognized early can have catastrophic consequences. The definition and pathophysiology of this condition remain controversial. High index of suspicion followed by T2-weighted gradient echo sequences are particularly useful in early diagnosis. Management consists of prompt surgical decompression of the hematoma though a recent trend is toward non-surgical treatment.
A 70-year-old man presented with acute onset neck pain with a radicular component and rapidly progressive quadriparesis. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a posteriorly located cervical extradural hematoma with cord compression that was promptly evacuated. Functional recovery to near normal function occurred within 24 hours of surgery.
SSEH in its true idiopathic form is a rare pathologic entity. Because of the high risk of poor outcome without treatment, SSEH should be a diagnostic possibility when presentation is even slightly suggestive. Prompt surgical evacuation of the hematoma leads to a favorable neurological outcome, whereas delay in treatment can be disastrous. The role of conservative management needs to be proven and should be tailored on an individual basis.
Tetraparesis; Tetraplegia; Paralysis; Myelopathy; Laminectomy; Neurologic manifestations; Progressive; Spinal cord compression; Cervical; Hematoma; Idiopathic spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma
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.
Spinal epidural hematoma is a rare complication associated with pain control procedures such as facet block, acupuncture, epidural injection, etc. Although it is an uncommon cause of acute myelopathy, and it may require surgical evacuation. We report four patients with epidural hematoma developed after pain control procedures. Two procedures were facet joint blocks and the others were epidural blocks. Pain was the predominant initial symptom in these patients while two patients presented with post-procedural neurological deficits. Surgical evacuation of the hematoma was performed in two patients while in remaining two patients, surgery was initially recommended but not performed since symptoms were progressively improved. Three patients showed near complete recovery except for one patient who recovered with residual deficits. Although, spinal epidural hematoma is a rare condition, it can lead to serious complications like spinal cord compression. Therefore, it is important to be cautious while performing spinal pain control procedure to avoid such complications. Surgical treatment is an effective option to resolve the spinal epidural hematoma.
Spinal epidural hematoma; Pain control procedure; Surgical evacuation
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
Spontaneous spinal epidural haemorrhage is a rare condition. The initial clinical manifestations are variable. Nonetheless, most spinal cord lesions result in paraparesis or quadriparesis, but not hemi-paresis, if motor function is involved. We report on a 69-year-old man who presented initially with right-side limb weakness. He was initially misdiagnosed at emergency room with a cerebral stroke and treated inappropriately with heparin. One day after admission, correct diagnosis of acute spinal epidural haematoma was based on the repeated neurological examination and cervical magnetic resonance imaging study. The patient underwent emergency surgical decompression and hematoma removal. The pathogenesis of the haematoma could have been due to hypertension, increased abdominal pressure and anticoagulant therapy. We emphasize that patients with hemi-paresis on initial presentation could have an acute spinal epidural haemorrhage. We also draw the misdiagnosis to the attention of the reader because early recognition of spontaneous spinal epidural haematoma is very important for prompt and appropriate treatment to improve the overall prognosis.
Spontaneous spinal epidural haemorrhage; Hemi-paresis; Cerebrovascular disease
Spinal epidural haematoma (SEH) is a rare complication of haemophilia. A 3-month-old boy presenting with non-traumatic acute onset quadriparesis was found to have SEH on MRI scan. On further investigations, diagnosis of severe haemophilia A was confirmed. He responded well to conservative treatment with replacement of factor VIII without any need for surgical decompression. Neurological recovery was complete. We believe this is the youngest reported case of haemophilia presenting with spontaneous SEH. Another peculiarity of this case is absence of excessive bleeding due to forceps and vacuum application, circumcision and intramuscular injection, even in the presence of severe haemophilia. This case calls attention to the clinical features, radiological appearances and management options of this rare complication of SEH in people with haemophilia.
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
Although extravasations of polymethylmetharylate during percutaneous vertebroplasty are usually of little clinical consequence, surgical decompression is occasionally required if resultant neurologic deficits are severe. Surgical removal of epidural polymethylmetharylate is usually necessary to achieve good neurologic recovery. Because mobilizing the squeezed spinal cord in a compromised canal can cause further deterioration, attempts to remove epidural polymethylmetharylate in the thoracic region need special consideration. A 66-year-old man had incomplete paraparesis and radicular pain on the chest wall after percutaneous vertebroplasty for osteoporotic compression fracture of T7. Radiological studies revealed polymethylmetharylate extravasations into the right lateral aspect of spinal canal that caused marked encroachment of the thecal sac and right neuroforamina. Progressive neurologic deficit and poor responses to medical managements were observed; therefore, surgical decompression was performed 4 months later. After laminectomy and removal of facet joints and T7 pedicle on the affected side, extravasated polymethylmetharylate posterior and anterior to the thecal sac was completely removed without retracting the dura mater. Spinal stability was reconstructed by supplemental spinal instrumentation and intertransverse arthrodesis with banked cancellous allografts. Myelopathy and radicular pain gradually resolved after decompression surgery. The patient was free of sensory abnormality and regained satisfactory ambulation two years after surgical decompression.
Vertebroplasty; Polymethylmethacrylate; Epidural extravasations; Thoracic myelopathy; Surgical removal
Spinal epidural hematomas (SEHs) are rare complications following spine surgery, especially for single level lumbar discectomies. The appropriate surgical management for such cases remains to be investigated. We report a case of an extensive spinal epidural hematoma from T11-L5 following a L3-L4 discectomy. The patient underwent a single level L4. A complete evacuation of the SEH resulted in the patient's full recovery. When presenting symptoms limited to the initial surgical site reveal an extensive postoperative SEH, we propose: to tailor the surgical exposure individually based on preoperative findings of the SEH; and to begin the surgical exposure with a limited laminectomy focused on the symptomatic levels that may allow an efficient evacuation of the SEH instead of a systematic extensive laminectomy based on imaging.
Epidural; Hematoma; Spine; Surgery; Management; Emergency; Postoperative
Symptomatic spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma(SSEH) is an uncommon cause of cord compression that commonly is considered as an indication for emergent surgical decompression. We aimed to investigate a patient with a SSEH that completely resolved clinically and radiographically, without surgical treatment. The patient presented three days after the sudden onset of back pain, numbness, and weakness. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) revealed a posterior thoracolumbar epidural hematoma extending from the level of T10 to L2 with significant cord compression. Decompression was recommended but he refused surgery and was managed conservatively. One month later, weakness totally recovered and hematoma was absent on MRI.
Spinal epidural hematoma; Cord compression; Conservative therapy
Symptomatic spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma(SSEH) is an uncommon cause of cord compression that commonly is considered an indication for emergent surgical decompression. We aimed to investigate a patient with a SSEH that completely resolved clinically and radiographically, without surgical treatment. The patient presented three days after the sudden onset of back pain, numbness, and weakness. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) revealed a posterior thoracolumbar epidural hematoma extending from the level of T10 to L2 with significant cord compression. Decompression was recommended but he refused surgery and was managed conservatively. One month later weakness totally recovered and hematoma was absent on MRI.
Spinal epidural hematoma; Cord compression; Conservative therapy
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
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
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
We report a series of epidural hematomas which cause neurologic deterioration after spinal surgery, and have taken risk factors and prognostic factors into consideration. We retrospectively reviewed the database of 3720 cases of spine operation in a single institute over 7 years (1998 April-2005 July). Nine patients who demonstrated neurologic deterioration after surgery and required surgical decompression were identified. Factors postulated to increase the postoperative epidural hematoma and to improve neurologic outcome were investigated. The incidence of postoperative epidural hematoma was 0.24%. Operation sites were cervical 3 cases, thoracic 2 cases, and lumbar 4 cases. Their original diagnoses were tumor 3 cases, cervical stenosis 2 cases, lumbar stenosis 3 cases and herniated lumbar disc 1case. The symptoms of epidural hematomas were neurologic deterioration and pain. After decompression, clinical outcome revealed complete recovery in 3 cases (33.3%), incomplete recovery in 5 cases (55.6%) and no change in 1 case (11.1%). Factors increasing the risk of postoperative epidural hematoma were coagulopathy from medical illness or anticoagulation therapy (4 cases, 44.4%) and highly vascularized tumor (3 cases, 33.3%). The time interval to evacuation of complete recovery group (29.3 hours) was shorter than incomplete recovery group (66.3 hours). Patients with coagulopathy and highly vascularized tumor were more vulnerable to spinal epidural hematoma. The postoperative outcome was related to the preoperative neurological deficit and the time interval to the decompression.
Clinical outcome; risk factor; postoperative; spinal epidural hematoma; spine surgery
Spinal epidural angiolipoma is a rare benign tumor containing vascular and mature adipose elements. A slow progressive clinical course was mostly presented and rarely a fluctuating course during pregnancy. The authors report the original case of spontaneous spinal epidural bleeding resulting from thoracic epidural angiolipoma who presented with hyperacute onset of paraplegia, simulating an extradural hematoma. The patient was admitted with sudden non-traumatic hyperacute paraplegia during a prolonged walk. Neurologic examination showed sensory loss below T6 and bladder disturbances. Spinal MRI revealed a non-enhanced heterogeneous thoracic epidural lesion, extending from T2 to T3. A bilateral T2–T4 laminectomy was performed to achieve resection of a lipomatous tumor containing area of spontaneous hemorrhage. The postoperative course was uneventful with complete neurologic recovery. Histologic examination revealed the tumor as an angiolipoma. Because the prognosis after rapid surgical management of this lesion is favorable, the diagnosis of spinal angiolipoma with bleeding should be considered in the differential diagnosis of hyperacute spinal cord compression.
Angiolipoma; Epidural spinal tumor; Spinal cord compression; Spinal epidural hematoma
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
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.
Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH) is an uncommon clinical entity. It produces a severe neurological deficit and prompt decompression is usually the first choice of treatment. Brown-Séquard syndrome is commonly seen in the setting of spinal trauma or an extramedullary spinal neoplasm, but rarely caused by SSEH.
Case report and literature review.
A previously healthy man presented with Brown-Séquard syndrome below T5–T6 cord segment secondary to spontaneous epidural hematoma. He opted for conservative treatment, which was followed by rapid resolution.
Although Brown-Séquard syndrome as a presenting feature of SSEH is rare, it does exist in exceptional case, which should be taken into consideration for differential diagnosis. Prompt surgical decompression is an absolute surgical indication widely accepted for patient with progressive neurological deficit. However, SSEH presenting with incomplete neurological insult such as Brown-Séquard syndrome might have a benign course. Successful non-operative management of this problem does not make it a standard of care, and surgical decompression remains the standard treatment for SSEH.
Spinal epidural hematoma; Brown-Séquard syndrome; Thoracic vertebra; Spinal cord; Methylprednisolone; Paraparesis
Symptomatic spinal epidural lipomatosis (SEL) is very rare and frequently associated to chronic exogenous steroid use, obesity and Cushing syndrome. The idiopathic cases where no identifiable association with SEL are found constitute only 17% of all cases. The usual clinical manifestations of this entity consist of dorsal or lumbar pain with paresthesias and weakness in lower limbs, but acute symptoms of myelopathy are exceptional. We report a case of acute paraparesis and urinary retention caused by thoracic SEL in a 55-year-old male who did not have any recognized predisposing factor for this condition. Urgent surgical decompression was performed in order to relieve the symptoms. Slow but progressive improvement was assessed after surgery. We consider this case to be exceptional due to the needing to perform an urgent decompressive laminectomy to treat a rapidly progressive myelopathy caused by idiopathic SEL.
Epidural lipomatosis; Paraparesis; Spinal cord compression; Surgical decompression; Myelopathy
Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH) is rare in children, especially in infants, in whom only 12 cases have been reported. Because of the nonspecificity of presenting symptoms in children, the diagnosis may be delayed. We report herein a case of SSEH in a 20-month-old girl who initially presented with neck pain, and developed lower extremity motor weakness and symptoms of neurogenic bladder 2 weeks prior to admission. The magnetic resonance imaging showed an epidural mass lesion extending from C7 to T4, and the spinal cord was severely compressed by the mass. After emergency decompressive surgery the neurologic function was improved immediately. Two months after surgery, the neurological status was normal with achievement of spontaneous voiding. We suggest that surgical intervention can provide excellent prognosis in case of SSEH in infants, even if surgery delayed.
Spontaneous; Spinal epidural hematoma; Infant; Laminotomy
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
There are few reported cases of post-operative spondylitis caused by Mycobacterium intracellulare. A 75-year-old female presented to our hospital with low back pain and paraparesis after a fall. The radiologic examination revealed compression fractures of L1, L3 and L4 and an epidural hematoma compressing the spinal cord. The dark-red epidural hematoma was urgently evacuated. Four weeks post-operatively, neurologic deficits recurred with fever. On magnetic resonance image, an epidural abscess and osteomyelitis were detected in the previous operative site. Five weeks post-operatively, revision was performed with multiple biopsies. The specimen were positive for acid-fast bacilli and traditional anti-tuberculous medications were started. Because the Polymerase Chain Reaction for non-tuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) was positive, the anti-tuberculous medications were changed to anti-NTM drugs. However, the neurologic deficits did not improve and persistent elevation of erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein were noted. Eight weeks after the revision, Mycobacterium intracellulare was detected in the specimen cultures. Despite supportive care with medication, the patient died due to multiple organ failure.
Post-operative spondylitis; Mycobacterium intracellulare