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.
The timing of surgery in cauda equina syndrome due to prolapsed intervertebral disc remains controversial. Assessment of these patients requires magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is of limited availability outside normal working hours in the UK.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
We reviewed radiological results in all patients undergoing emergency MRI within our unit for suspected cauda equina syndrome over a 2-year period, and all subjects undergoing emergency lumbar discectomy for cauda equina syndrome within the same period. Outcome measures were: proportion of positive findings in symptomatic patients and proportion of patients referred with diagnostic MRI scans undergoing emergency surgery. We also assessed outcomes of patients having surgery for cauda equina syndrome in terms of improvement of pain, sensory and sphincter disturbance.
A total of 76 patients were transferred for assessment and ‘on-call’ MRI; 27 were subsequently operated upon. Only 5 proceeded to emergency discectomy that night (prior to next scheduled list). This may be due to delays in timing – from referral to acceptance, to arrival in the department, to diagnostic scan and to theatre. With the second group of patients, 43 had emergency discectomy for cauda equina syndrome during the study period. Of these, 6 patients had an out-of-hours MRI at our hospital for assessment (one patient living locally). Most surgically treated patients experienced improvement in their pain syndrome, with approximately two-thirds experiencing improvement in sensory and sphincter disturbance.
These data support a policy of advising MRI scan for cauda equina syndrome at the earliest opportunity within the next 24 h in the referring hospital, rather than emergency transfer for diagnostic imaging which has a relatively low yield in terms of patients operated on as an emergency.
MRI scan; Cauda equina syndrome; Discectomy; Back pain
Reduction of blood flow in compressed nerve roots is considered as one important mechanism of induction of neurogenic intermittent claudication in lumbar spinal canal stenosis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent stimulator of angiogenesis, and is increased in expression in hypoxic conditions. The objective of this study was to examine if cauda equina compression affects motor function and induces expression of VEGF and angiogenesis. The cauda equina was compressed by placing a piece of silicone rubber into the L5 epidural space. Walking duration was examined by rota-rod testing. The compressed parts of the cauda equina and L5 dorsal root ganglion (DRG) were removed at 3, 7, 14, or 28 days after surgery, and processed for immunohistochemistry for VEGF and Factor VIII (marker for vascular endothelial cells). Numbers of VEGF-immunoreactive (IR) cells and vascular density were examined. Walking duration was decreased after induction of cauda equina compression. The number of VEGF-IR cells in the cauda equina and DRG was significantly increased at 3, 14, and 28 days after cauda equina compression, compared with sham-operated rats (P < 0.05). Vascular density in the cauda equina was not increased at any of the time points examined. Cauda equina compression decreased walking duration, and induced VEGF expression in nerve roots and DRG.
Cauda equina compression; Intermittent claudication; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Angiogenesis
To determine the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in experimental dog model of severe acute cauda equina syndrome, which was induced by multiple cauda equina constrictions throughout the entire lumbar (L), sacral (S) and coccygeal (Co) spinal cord and their central processes of the dorsal root ganglia neurons. Adult male mongrel dogs were randomly divided into 2 groups. The experiment group (n=4) was subjected to multiple cauda equina constrictions. The control group (n=4) was subjected to cauda equina exposure without constrictions. Level of BDNF in the spinal cord and the dorsal root ganglion cells (L7, S1-S3) was assessed 48 hours after multiple constrictions by immunohistochemical and histopathological analyses. 48 hours after multiple constrictions of cauda equina, up-regulation of BDNF within lumbosacral (L7-S3) spinal cord and dorsal root ganglion was observed in experimental group as compared to control group. Our result suggests that BDNF might play a role in the inflammatory and neuropathic pain as a result of multiple cauda equina constrictions. Regulation of BDNF level could potentially provide a therapy for treating cauda equina syndrome.
Cauda equina syndrome (CES); dorsal root ganglion (DRG); brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF); multiple cauda equina constrictions (MCEC); neurotrophic factors (NFs)
A case of cauda equina lesion as a result of recurrent adjacent segment degeneration (ASD) after multiple lumbar fusions is reported. ASD might be a consequence of biomechanical overload or simply a normal degenerative process. The reported clinical relevance of ASD is rather low. We describe an unusual case of cauda equina compression at L1–L2 in a patient who had undergone L2–L4 fusion 8 years previously and 2 decompression-fusion surgeries 16 years before.
Materials and methods
A 72-year-old man, who had two previous lumbar fusion–decompression procedures, underwent a third lumbar surgery in December 2000 to treat symptomatic spinal canal stenosis associated with L3–L4 pseudoarthrosis. After a symptom-free period of 8 years, the patient experienced low back pain radiating to both legs while standing, associated with saddle sensory disturbances and incontinence. Physical examination ruled out significant motor deficits. Plain radiographs showed solid fusion from L2 to L4, good spinal alignment, and low-grade L1–L2 retrolisthesis. Stainless steel pedicular instrumentation distorted magnetic resonance imaging, preventing adequate spinal canal evaluation. Electromyography demonstrated signs of cauda equina compression (bilateral L3–S2). CT myelography showed a stop at L1–L2, due to a severe spinal canal stenosis. L1–L2 decompression and fusion were performed.
After an uneventful surgery with no complications, the symptoms abated and incontinence recovered.
Even if the reported clinical relevance of ASD is very low, fused patients with a constitutional narrow spinal canal are at risk of developing severe neural compression at the level adjacent to the fusion.
Recurrent disease; Adjacent segment; Cauda equina; Degenerative changes; Narrow spinal canal
Sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) is an effective treatment for bladder and bowel dysfunction, and also has a role in the treatment of chronic pelvic pain. We report two cases of intractable pain associated with cauda equina syndrome (CES) that were treated successfully by SNS. The first patient suffered from intractable pelvic pain with urinary incontinence and fecal incontinence after surgery for a herniated lumbar disc. The second patient underwent surgery for treatment of a burst fracture and developed intractable pelvic area pain, right leg pain, excessive urinary frequency, urinary incontinence, voiding difficulty and constipation one year after surgery. A SNS trial was performed on both patients. Both patients' pain was significantly improved and urinary symptoms were much relieved. Neuromodulation of the sacral nerves is an effective treatment for idiopathic urinary frequency, urgency, and urge incontinence. Sacral neuromodulation has also been used to control various forms of pelvic pain. Although the mechanism of action of neuromodulation remains unexplained, numerous clinical success reports suggest that it is a therapy with efficacy and durability. From the results of our research, we believe that SNS can be a safe and effective option for the treatment of intractable pelvic pain with incomplete CES.
Sacral Plexus; Neuromodulator; Pain; Cauda Equina
Existing studies on micro-endoscopic lumbar discectomy report similar outcomes to those of open and microdiscectomy and conflicting results on complications. We designed a randomised controlled trial to investigate the hypothesis of different outcomes and complications obtainable with the three techniques. 240 patients aged 18–65 years affected by posterior lumbar disc herniation and symptoms lasting over 6 weeks of conservative management were randomised to micro-endoscopic (group 1), micro (group 2) or open (group 3) discectomy. Exclusion criteria were less than 6 weeks of pain duration, cauda equina compromise, foraminal or extra-foraminal herniations, spinal stenosis, malignancy, previous spinal surgery, spinal deformity, concurrent infection and rheumatic disease. Surgery and follow-up were made at a single Institution. A biomedical researcher independently collected and reviewed the data. ODI, back and leg VAS and SF-36 were the outcome measures used preoperatively, postoperatively and at 6-, 12- and 24-month follow-up. 212/240 (91%) patients completed the 24-month follow-up period. VAS back and leg, ODI and SF36 scores showed clinically and statistically significant improvements within groups without significant difference among groups throughout follow-up. Dural tears, root injuries and recurrent herniations were significantly more common in group 1. Wound infections were similar in group 2 and 3, but did not affect patients in group 1. Overall costs were significantly higher in group 1 and lower in group 3. In conclusion, outcome measures are equivalent 2 years following lumbar discectomy with micro-endoscopy, microscopy or open technique, but severe complications are more likely and costs higher with micro-endoscopy.
Lumbar disc herniation; Discectomy; Microdiscectomy; Micro-endoscopic discectomy
To report a case of Cauda Equina syndrome with the completion of the paralysis after the reduction of a L4L5 dislocation due to a herniated disc. Although several articles have described a post-traumatic disc herniation in the cervical spinal canal, this is not well known in the lumbar region. A 30-year-old man was admitted to the emergency room with blunt trauma to the chest and abdomen with multiple contusions plus a dislocation of L4-L5 with an incomplete neurological injury. After an emergency open reduction and instrumentation of the dislocation, the patient developed a complete cauda equina syndrome that has resulted from an additional compression of the dural sac by a herniated disc. In a dislocation of the lumbar spine, MRI study is mandatory to check the state of the spinal canal prior to surgical reduction. A posterior approach is sufficient for reduction of the vertebral displacement, however an intra-canal exploration for bony or disc material should be systematically done.
Cauda equine; Herniated disc; Lumbar dislocation; MRI; Reduction
Posterior epidural migration (PEM) of free disc fragments is rare, and reported PEM patients usually presented with radicular signs. An uncommon case involving a patient with cauda equina syndrome due to PEM of a lumbar disc fragment is reported with a review of the literature. The patient described in this report presented with an acute cauda equina syndrome resulting from disc fragment migration at the L3–L4 level that occurred after traction therapy for his lower back pain. The radiological characteristics of the disc fragment were the posterior epidural location and the ring enhancement. A fenestration was performed and histologically confirmed sequestered disc material was removed. An early postoperative examination revealed that motor, sensory, urological, and sexual functions had been recovered. At late follow-up, the patient was doing well after 18 months. Sequestered disc fragments may occasionally migrate to the posterior epidural space of the dural sac. Definite diagnosis of posteriorly located disc fragments is difficult because the radiological images of disc fragments may mimic those of other more common posterior epidural lesions.
Cauda equina syndrome Disc migration Lumbar disc Sequestered disc
In animal models of degenerative lumbar disease, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) is expressed in macrophages and Schwann cells following compression of the cauda equina. We previously reported that NO metabolites (nitrite plus nitrate: [NOx]) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) correlate with postoperative pain relief in patients with degenerative lumbar disease and with neurologic recovery rate postoperatively or after conservative treatment in patients with spinal cord injury. The objective of the present study was to examine the relationship between [NOx] and neurologic severity, and recovery in degenerative cervical and lumbar diseases. Two hundred fifty-seven cases, including 85 patients with cervical compression myelopathy (CCM), 25 with cervical disc herniation (CDH), 70 with lumbar canal stenosis (LCS), and 77 with lumbar disc herniation (LDH), were examined. The CSF [NOx] was measured using the Griess method. Severity of neurologic impairment and clinical recovery was assessed using the Japanese Orthopedic Association score and Hirabayashi’s method. [NOx] in CCM and LCS, but not CDH and LDH groups, was significantly higher than that in controls, and correlated with postoperative recovery rates, but not with preoperative neurologic severity. [NOx] significantly correlated with neurologic recovery following surgery for CCM and LCS.
Nitric oxide; Degenerative cervical diseases; Degenerative lumbar diseases; Cerebrospinal fluid; Neurologic severity; Neurologic recovery
Incidental or intentional durotomy causing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage, leading to the formation of a pseudomeningocele is a known complication in spinal surgery. Herniation of nerve roots into such a pseudomeningocele is very rare, but can occur up to years after initial durotomy and has been described to cause permanent neurologic deficit. However, cauda equina fiber herniation and entrapment into a pseudomeningocele has not been reported before. Here, we present a case of symptomatic transdural cauda equina herniation and incarceration into a pseudomeningocele, 3 months after extirpation of a lumbar Schwannoma. A 59-year-old man, who previously underwent intradural Schwannoma extirpation presented 3 months after surgery with back pain, sciatica and loss of bladder filling sensation caused by cauda equina fiber entrapment into a defect in the wall of a pseudomeningocele, diagnosed with magnetic resonance imaging. On re-operation, the pseudomeningocele was resected and the herniated and entrapped cauda fibers were released and replaced intradurally. The dura defect was closed and the patient recovered completely. In conclusion, CSF leakage can cause neurological deficit up to years after durotomy by transdural nerve root herniation and subsequent entrapment. Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of this potentially devastating complication. The present case also underlines the importance of meticulous dura closure in spinal surgery.
Pseudomeningocele; Dura defect; Nerve root entrapment
We report a case of a 44-year-old patient with paralysis of the left leg who had a thoracic epidural catheterization after general anesthesia for abdominal surgery. Sensory losses below T10 and motor weakness of the left leg occurred after the surgery. Magnetic resonance image study demonstrated a well-defined intramedullary linear high signal intensity lesion on T2-weighted image and low-signal intensity on T1-weighted image in the spinal cord between T9 and L1 vertebral level, and enhancements of the spinal cord below T8 vertebra and in the cauda equina. Electrodiagnostic examination revealed lumbosacral polyradiculopathy affecting nerve roots below L4 level on left side. We suggest that the intrinsic spinal cord lesion and nerve root lesion can be caused by an epidural catheterization with subsequent local anesthetic injection.
Spinal cord injuries; Epidural analgesia; Paralysis
techniques permit the separate analysis of the response from cauda
equina roots and the spinal potential that is probably generated by the
activation of dorsal horn cells. To improve the functional assessment
of focal lesions of the lumbosacral cord, lower limb somatosensory
evoked potentials (SEPs) were measured by multisegmental stimulation.
peroneal and tibial nerves SEPs were recorded in 14 patients in whom
MRI demonstrated compressive cord damage ranging from T9 to L1 levels.
SEPs were recorded in each patient at the lumbar level (cauda equina
response), lower thoracic level (spinal response), and from the scalp
in spinal response occurred in 50% and 70% of tibial and common
peroneal nerve SEPs respectively; these findings were well explained by
the radiological compression level, involving in most of the patients
lumbar rather than sacral myelomeres. The SEPs were often more
effective than the clinical examination in showing the actual extension
recording of spinal SEPs after multisegmental lower limb stimulation
proved useful in assessing cord dysfunction and determining the cord
levels mainly involved by the compression.
Ependymomas are uncommon tumors that arise in the brain, spinal cord or cauda equina. Myxopapillary ependymomas is located exclusively in the conus medullaris or cauda equina, or film terminale region. In most myxopapillary ependymomas, the histological examination reveals low mitotic activity that is associated with a low MIB-1 labeling index (LI). The prognosis is generally favorable, when the appropriate treatment, including a total resection, is performed. The authors encountered a 39-year-old man with multifocal type of myxopapillary ependymomas compressing the cauda equina from the L2 to L3 level and L5-S1 level. A subtotal resection of the tumor was carried out. The histological examination revealed extremely high mitotic activity with a MIB-1 LI of 9.1%. Therefore, cranio-spinal radiation was added after surgery. The postoperative course was uneventful over the 3.5 year follow-up period.
Myxopapillary ependymoma; Lumbar and sacral regions; Cranio-spinal radiation therapy; MIB-1 index; Tumor recurrence
Reduction of blood flow is important in the induction of neurogenic intermittent claudication (NIC) in lumbar spinal canal stenosis. PGE1 improves the mean walking distance in patients with NIC type cauda equina compression. PGE1 derivate might be effective in dilating blood vessels and improving blood flow in nerve roots with chronically compressed cauda equina. The aim of this study was to assess whether PGE1 derivate has vasodilatory effects on both arteries and veins in a canine model of chronic cauda equina compression.
Fourteen dogs were used in this study. A plastic balloon inflated to 10 mmHg was placed under the lamina of the 7th lumbar vertebra for 1 week. OP-1206-cyclodextrin clathrate (OP-1206-CD: prostaglandin E1 derivate) was administered orally. The blood vessels of the second or third sacral nerve root were identified using a specially designed surgical microscope equipped with a video camera. The diameter of the blood vessels was measured on video-recordings every 15 minutes until 90 minutes after the administration of the PGE1 derivate.
We observed seven arteries and seven veins. The diameter and blood flow of the arteries was significantly increased compared with the veins at both 60 and 75 minutes after administration of the PGE1 derivate (p < 0.05). Blood flow velocity did not change over 90 minutes in either the arteries or veins.
The PGE1 derivate improved blood flow in the arteries but did not induce blood stasis in the veins. Our results suggest that the PGE1 derivate might be a potential therapeutic agent, as it improved blood flow in the nerve roots in a canine model of chronic cauda equina compression.
Intradural disc herniation (IDDH) is a rare complication of intervertebral disc disease and comprises 0.26-0.30% of all herniated discs, with 92% of them located in the lumbar region (1). We present a case of IDDH that presented with intermittent symptoms and signs of cauda equina compression. We were unable to find in the literature, any previously described cases of intermittent cauda equina compression from a herniated intradural disc fragment leading to a “floppy disc syndrome”.
A prospective longitudinal inception cohort study of 33 patients undergoing surgery for cauda equina syndrome (CES) due to a herniated lumbar disc. To determine what factors influence spine and urinary outcome measures at 3 months and 1 year in CES specifically with regard to the timing of onset of symptoms and the timing of surgical decompression. CES consists of signs and symptoms caused by compression of lumbar and sacral nerve roots. Controversy exists regarding the relative importance of timing of surgery as a prognostic factor influencing outcome. Post-operative outcome was assessed at 3 months and 1 year using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) scores for leg and back pain and an incontinence questionnaire. Statistical analysis was used to determine the association between pre-operative variables and these post-operative outcomes with a specific emphasis on the timing of surgery. Surgery was performed on 12 (36%) patients within 48 h of the onset of symptoms including seven patients (21%) who underwent surgery within 24 h. Follow up was achieved in 27 (82%) and 25 (76%) patients at 3 and 12 months, respectively. There was no statistically significant difference in outcome between three groups of patients with respect to length of time from symptom onset to surgery- <24, 24–48 and >48 h. A significantly better outcome was found in patients who were continent of urine at presentation compared with those who were incontinent. The duration of symptoms prior to surgery does not appear to influence the outcome. This finding has significant implications for the medico-legal sequelae of this condition. The data suggests that the severity of bladder dysfunction at the time of surgery is the dominant factor in recovery of bladder function.
Cauda equina syndrome; Surgical outcome; Timing; Herniated nucleus pulposus
A case of intraneural capillary hemangioma involving the dorsal root of a spinal nerve of the cauda equina is reported. The patient was a 41-year-old man with a 3-month history of intermittent left lumbosciatalgia. MRI and CT myelography showed a space-occupying mass at the level of the cauda equina. Laminectomy of L5 and complete removal of the lesion were performed without neurological problems. The clinical, diagnostic, and therapeutic aspects of hemangiomas of the cauda equina are analyzed.
Cauda equina; Intraneural hemangioma; Spine surgery
Intervertebral intradural lumbar disc herniation (ILDH) is a quite rare pathology, and isolated intradural lumbar disc herniation is even more rare. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may not be able to reveal ILDHs, especially if MRI findings show an intact lumbar disc annulus and posterior longitudinal ligament. Here, we present an exceedingly rare case of an isolated IDLH that we initially misidentified as a spinal intradural tumor, in a 54-year-old man hospitalized with a 2-month history of back pain and right sciatica. Neurologic examination revealed a positive straight leg raise test on the right side, but he presented no other sensory, motor, or sphincter disturbances. A gadolinium-enhanced MRI revealed what we believed to be an intradural extramedullary tumor compressing the cauda equina leftward in the thecal sac, at the L2 vertebral level. The patient underwent total L2 laminectomy, and we extirpated the intradural mass under microscopic guidance. Histologic examination of the mass revealed a degenerated nucleus pulposus.
Intradural disc herniation; Spinal intradural tumor; Magnetic resonance imaging
Calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) deposition disease, also known as pseudogout, is a disease that causes inflammatory arthropathy in peripheral joints, however, symptomatic involvement of the intervertebral disc is uncommon. Herein, we describe a 59-yr-old patient who presented with cauda equina syndrome. Magnetic resonance imaging of the patient showed an epidural mass-like lesion at the disc space of L4-L5, which was compressing the thecal sac. Biopsy of the intervertebral disc and epidural mass-like lesion was determined to be CPPD deposits. We reviewed previously reported cases of pseudogout involving the lumbar intervertebral disc and discuss the pathogenesis and treatment of the disease.
Calcium Pyrophosphate Dehydrate (CPPD); Pseudogout; Lumbar Spine; Intervertebral Disc
Ependymomas presenting with intratumoural and/or subarachnoid haemorrhages are seen rarely. These haemorrhages are mostly due to anticoagulation, epidural analgesia or pregnancy. A 62-year-old male farmer with cauda equina syndrome after a work-related trauma is presented. He was admitted to our hospital with paraparesis, faecal incontinance and sensory loss below the level of the lumbar-2 dermatome. Magnetic resonance imaging of the spine displayed an intradural mass lesion at the level of the first lumbar vertebrae. The lesion was excised totally via dorsal midline approach. Histopathologic examination revealed grade-3 ependymoma with intratumoural haemorrhage. The patient’s symptoms were relieved completely on postoperative day 7. The patient was given information about periodical examination for recurrence and discharged on the third postoperative week. Asymptomatic spinal lesions should be considered for operation whenever detected because of unpredicted complications.
Cauda equina syndrome; Ependymoma; Filum terminale; Intratumoural haemorrhage; Spinal cord tumours; Spinal trauma
Autonomic regulation of the urogenital organs is impaired by injuries sustained during pelvic surgery or compression of lumbosacral spinal nerves (e.g., cauda equina syndrome). To understand the impact of injury on both sympathetic and parasympathetic components of this nerve supply, we performed an experimental surgical and immunohistochemical study on adult male rats, where the structure of this complex part of the nervous system has been well defined. We performed unilateral transection of pelvic or hypogastric nerves and analyzed relevant regions of lumbar and sacral spinal cord, up to 4 weeks after injury. Expression of c-Jun, the neuronal injury marker activating transcription factor-3 (ATF-3), and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) were examined. We found little evidence for chemical or structural changes in substantial numbers of functionally related but uninjured spinal neurons (e.g., in sacral preganglionic neurons after hypogastric nerve injury), failing to support the concept of compensatory events. The effects of injury were greatest in sacral cord, ipsilateral to pelvic nerve transection. Here, around half of all preganglionic neurons expressed c-Jun within 1 week of injury, and substantial ATF-3 expression also occurred, especially in neurons with complete loss of ChAT-immunoreactivity. There did not appear to be any death of retrogradely labeled neurons, in contrast to axotomy studies performed on other regions of spinal cord or sacral ventral root avulsion models. Each of the effects we observed occurred in only a subpopulation of preganglionic neurons at that spinal level, raising the possibility that distinct functional subgroups have different susceptibility to trauma-induced degeneration and potentially different regenerative abilities. Identification of the cellular basis of these differences may provide insights into organ-specific strategies for attenuating degeneration or promoting regeneration of these circuits after trauma.
spinal cord injury; spinal nerves; cauda equina syndrome; inferior hypogastric plexus; micturition; regeneration; sprouting
Cauda equina syndrome seems to be a very rare complication of spinal manipulations. Only few cases, in fact, were referred in literature in the past decades. Most of them are very old and poorly documented evoking doubts about the pathogenetic relationship between the spinal maneuvers and the onset of the syndrome. We observed and treated a 42-year-old patient who complained a rapid onset of saddle hypoparesthesia and urine retention only a few hours after the spinal manipulation performed for L5-S1 herniated disc. The comparison of the two following MRIs performed before and after the manipulations seems to prove a close pathogenetic relationship. The patient was operated soon after the admission to our emergency department and 1 year later he referred an incomplete recovery of the syndrome. The case offered the opportunity to update the literature. The review revealed only three cases from the beginning of the current century that confirm the rarity of the syndrome. Based on the data emerging from the official literature, safety of the manipulations and its pathogenetic aspects in causing lumbar radiculopathies are discussed.
Cauda equina syndrome; Spinal manipulations; Herniated disc disease
Whilst neurologic injury following correction of scoliosis with CD-instrumentation is generally known to be an early complication, any late occurrence of cauda compression secondary to employment of a laminar hook-rod construct is exceptional. We report on such a rare case of late occurrence of cauda equina syndrome, when a laminar hook at level L2 became symptomatic causing compression of the cauda equina almost a decade after spine surgery. This case demonstrates that one should not only be aware of a potential neural injury at intraoperative placement of laminar hooks, but also one is reminded that a laminar hook poses the threat of late neurologic injury years after successful osseous spinal fusion. The surgeon treating patients with scoliosis must be aware of the possible complication described in our patient in addition to those that have already been well documented.
Key words CD instrumentation; Spine-Fix; Scoliosis; Neurologic; injury
This study is a prospective, clinical study assessing the efficacy of selective decompression of the level responsible in a two-level stenosis in accordance with the neurological findings defined by the gait load test with a treadmill.
To clarify the clinical features of multilevel lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) regarding the neurological level responsible for the symptoms, neurogenic claudication, and outcomes of selective decompression.
Overview of Literature
Most spine surgeons have reported that multilevel compression of the cauda equina induces a more severe impairment of the nerve function than a single-level compression. However, the clinical effects of multilevel LSS on the cauda equine and nerve roots are unknown.
A total of 21 patients with lumbar spinal canal stenosis due to spondylosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis were selected. The level responsible for the symptoms in the two-level stenosis was determined from the neurological findings on the gait load test and functional diagnosis based on a selective nerve root block. All patients underwent a prospective, selective decompression at the level neurologically responsible only. The average follow-up period was 2.6 years (range, 1 to 6 years). The postsurgical outcome was defined using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) at the post-gait load test, 2 weeks after surgery, 3 months after surgery and at the last follow up.
Before surgery, the mean threshold distance and mean walking tolerance was 34.3 m and 113 m, respectively. All patients had neurogenic claudication and 19 of the patients had cauda equina syndrome, including hypesthesia in 11 cases, muscle weakness in 5 cases and radicular pain in 7 cases. Selective nerve blocks to determine the level responsible for the lumbosacral symptoms in 2 cases revealed a mean VAS score of 7.1, 2.61, 3.04, and 3.47 at the post-gait load test, 2 weeks after surgery, 3 months after surgery and at the last follow up, respectively. All subjects underwent surgery. After the operation, neurogenic claudication with or without cauda equna syndrome subsided in all patients.
The gait load test allows an objective and quantitative evaluation of the gait characteristics of patients with lumbar canal stenosis and is useful for determining the appropriate level for surgical treatment.
Gait load test; Neurogenic claudication; Lumbar canal stenosis