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1.  Case Report: Cauda Equina Syndrome Associated With an Interspinous Device 
Background
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.
Case Description
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.
Literature Review
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.
Clinical Relevance
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.
doi:10.1007/s11999-011-2031-7
PMCID: PMC3348300  PMID: 21870210
2.  Symptomatic Extensive Thoracolumbar Epidural Hematoma Following Lumbar Disc Surgery Treated by Single Level Laminectomy 
Asian Spine Journal  2012;6(2):152-155.
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.
doi:10.4184/asj.2012.6.2.152
PMCID: PMC3372553  PMID: 22708022
Epidural; Hematoma; Spine; Surgery; Management; Emergency; Postoperative
3.  Spontaneous Cervical Epidural Hematoma with Hemiparesis Mimicking Cerebral Stroke 
Aim. Spontaneous cervical epidural hematoma (SCEH) is defined as an epidural hematoma that does not have an etiological explanation. The most common site for SCEH is cervicothoracic area. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for prognosis and good results. In this paper, we aimed to present a case who complains of sudden weakness on right extremities imitating cerebral stroke and that neuroimaging reveals spontaneous cervical epidural hematoma. Case. A 72-year-old woman was admitted to our hospital with acute neck pain and loss of strength on right extremities. On neurological examination, the patient had right hemiparesis. PT, aPTT, and INR results were 50.5, 42.8, and 4.8, respectively. Cranial MRI was in normal limits. Spinal MRI revealed a lesion that extends from C4 to C7 located on the right side and compatible with epidural hematoma. The patient was operated after normalization of INR values. Conclusion. Even though SCEH is a rare condition, it can cause severe morbidity and mortality. Early diagnosis and treatment are quiet important for prognosis. SCEH can easily be mistaken for stroke as with other pathologies and this diagnosis should come to mind especially in patients who have diathesis of bleeding.
doi:10.1155/2014/210146
PMCID: PMC4202256  PMID: 25371831
4.  Epidural Hematoma Presenting with Severe Neck Pain without Neurological Deficit - A Late Complication of Posterior Cervical Spine Surgery: Presentation of Three Unusual Cases 
Asian Spine Journal  2007;1(1):57-60.
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.
doi:10.4184/asj.2007.1.1.57
PMCID: PMC2857499  PMID: 20411155
Cervical spine; Epidural hematoma; Postoperative complication
5.  Artificial Cervical Disc Arthroplasty (ACDA): tips and tricks 
Journal of Injury and Violence Research  2012;4(3 Suppl 1): Paper No. 36.
Abstract:
Background:
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is currently treatment of choice for managing medical therapy refractory cervical degenerative disc disease. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of ACDF; patients generally experience rapid recoveries, and dramatic improvement in their pain and quality of life. However, as several studies reported symptomatic adjacent segment disease attributed to fusions’ altered kinematics, cervical disc arthroplasty emerged as a new motion-sparing alternative to fusion. Fusion at one level increases motion at adjacent levels along with increased intradiscal pressures. This phenomenon can result in symptomatic adjacent level degeneration, which can necessitate reoperation at these levels. The era of cervical arthroplasty began in Europe in the late 1990s. In recent years, artificial cervical disc arthroplasty (ACDA) has been increasingly used by spine surgeons for degenerative cervical disc disease. There have been several reports of safety, efficacy and indications of ACDA.
Cervical arthroplasty offers several theoretical advantages over anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in the treatment of selected patients with medically refractory cervical radiculopathy. Preserving motion at the operated level, cervical TDR has the potential to decrease the occurrence of adjacent segment degeneration.
There are a few studies on the efficacy and effectiveness of ACDA compared to cervical fusion. However, the true scenery of cervical arthroplasty yet to be identified.
Objective:
This study is intended to define patients' characteristics and outcomes of ACDA by a single surgeon in Iran.
Methods:
This retrospective study was performed in two general Hospitals in Tehran, Iran from 2005 To 2010. All patients were operated by one senior neurospine surgeon. One hundred fifty three patients were operated in this period. All patients signed the informed consent form prior to surgery. All patients presented with cervical discopathy who had myelopathy or radiculopathy and failed conservative management, undergoing cervical disc arthroplasty by ACDA were included, consecutively. Patients were followed for at least 2 years.
Exclusion criteria was age greater than 60 years, non compliance with the study protocol, osteoporosis, infection, congenital or post traumatic deformity, malignancy metabolic bone disease, and narrow cervical canal (less than 12 mm). Heterotopic ossification and adjacent segment degenerative changes were assessed at 2 years follow up by means of neutral and dynamic xrays and CT/MRI if clinically indicated. Neck and upper extremity pain were assessed before the procedure and in the first post-operative visit and 3 months later by means of visual analogue scale.
A standard approach was performed to the anterior cervical spine. Patients were positioned supine while holding neck in neutral position. A combination of sharp and blunt dissection was performed to expose longus coli musculature and anterior cervical vertebrae. Trachea and esophagus were retracted medially and carotid artery and jugular vein laterally. After a thorough discectomy, the intersomatic space is distracted in a parallel way by a vertebral distracter. Followed by Caspar distractor is applied to provide a working channel into posterior disc space. In this stage, any remnant disc materials as well as osteophytes are removed and foraminal decompression is done. Posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL) opening and removal, although discouraged by some, is done next. In order to define the size of the prosthesis, multiple trials are tested. It is important not to exceed the height of the healthy adjacent disc to avoid facet joint overdistraction. An specific insertor is applied to plant the prosthesis in disc space. Control X-rays are advised to check the precise positioning of the implant.
Results:
one hundred-fifty three patients including 87 females and 66 males were included. The mean age was 41 for females and 42 for males. Affected level was C5-C6 in 81 cases, C6-C7 in 72 cases and C4-C5 in 10 cases. The most common applied ACDA was DiscoCerv which was inserted in 127 cases followed by prodisc-c in three patients and Baguera in thirty three psatients.Ten cases had two levels involvement. Both neck and upper extremity pain improved significantly in early and late post op assessments compared to pre-op. There was only one operative complication of quadriparesis which might be attributed to the iatrogenic cervical spinal trauma.
Conclusions:
Cervical disc arthroplasty has been advocated to address drawbacks of fusion including loss of motion segment and adjacent level degeneration; our study along with several other reports provide considerable evidence in this regard. Cervical disc arthroplasty is a safe and effective alternative for fusion in cervical degenerative disc disease.
Keywords:
Cervical degenerative disc disease, Artificial cervical disc arthroplasty, Safety, Efficacy
PMCID: PMC3571562
6.  Spontaneous and idiopathic chronic spinal epidural hematoma: two case reports and review of the literature 
European Spine Journal  2009;18(11):1555-1561.
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.
doi:10.1007/s00586-009-1175-6
PMCID: PMC2899401  PMID: 19859747
Spontaneous; Idiopathic; Chronic; Hematoma; Epidural; Spinal
7.  Postoperative Spinal Epidural Hematoma: Risk Factor and Clinical Outcome 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2006;47(3):326-332.
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.
doi:10.3349/ymj.2006.47.3.326
PMCID: PMC2688151  PMID: 16807981
Clinical outcome; risk factor; postoperative; spinal epidural hematoma; spine surgery
8.  Spontaneous Spinal Epidural Hematomas Associated With Acute Myocardial Infarction Treatment 
Korean Circulation Journal  2011;41(12):759-762.
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.
doi:10.4070/kcj.2011.41.12.759
PMCID: PMC3257462  PMID: 22259609
Acute myocardial infarction; Hematoma, epidural, spinal; Paraplegia; Thrombolytic therapy; Anticoagulants
9.  Multiple neck operations in a patient with severe motor tics because of Tourette’s syndrome: a case report 
Introduction
In patients with Tourette’s syndrome who have severe motor tics, involuntary neck movements can enhance degenerative changes in the cervical spine, occasionally causing myelopathy. There have been a limited number of reports on surgical treatment for cervical myelopathy caused by Tourette’s syndrome, and a consensus for surgical treatment has not been fully established. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that describes a case of cervical myelopathy in a patient with Tourette’s syndrome with severe motor tics who has undergone multiple surgeries of the cervical spine.
Case presentation
A 44-year-old Asian man with severe motor tics due to Tourette’s syndrome presented with cervical myelopathy. Previously, he had undergone an anterior discectomy and spinal fusion with ceramics at the C3-C4 and C5-C6 levels, but required further surgery because of displacement of the ceramics. After the second operation, he developed compression myelopathy at the sandwiched (C4-C5) disc level, and had to undergo a C4-C5 anterior discectomy and spinal fusion, which was unsuccessful.
As a salvage operation, we performed a C3-C7 decompression and spinal fusion from both the anterior and posterior approaches. By thorough postoperative external immobilization of his neck, our patient’s spinal fusion was successful and his neurological improvements were maintained for more than 10 years.
Conclusions
Patients with Tourette’s syndrome with cervical myelopathy are at risk of having multiple neck operations to correct their symptoms. Postoperative immobilization and the correct selection of surgical procedure are quite important for successful spinal fusion and for avoiding complications at adjacent levels in these patients.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-223
PMCID: PMC3443656  PMID: 22846593
10.  Delayed Postoperative Epidural Hematoma Presenting Only with Vesicorectal Disturbance 
Case Reports in Orthopedics  2013;2013:861961.
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.
doi:10.1155/2013/861961
PMCID: PMC3773434  PMID: 24073350
11.  Hemiparesis Caused by Cervical Spontaneous Spinal Epidural Hematoma: A Report of 3 Cases 
Advances in Orthopedics  2011;2011:516382.
We report three cases of spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH) with hemiparesis. The first patient was a 73-year-old woman who presented with left hemiparesis, neck pain, and left shoulder pain. A cervical MRI scan revealed a left posterolateral epidural hematoma at the C3–C6 level. The condition of the patient improved after laminectomy and evacuation of the epidural hematoma. The second patient was a 62-year-old man who presented with right hemiparesis and neck pain. A cervical MRI scan revealed a right posterolateral dominant epidural hematoma at the C6-T1 level. The condition of the patient improved after laminectomy and evacuation of the epidural hematoma. The third patient was a 60-year-old woman who presented with left hemiparesis and neck pain. A cervical MRI scan revealed a left posterolateral epidural hematoma at the C2–C4 level. The condition of the patient improved with conservative treatment. The classical clinical presentation of SSEH is acute onset of severe irradiating back pain followed by progression to paralysis, whereas SSEH with hemiparesis is less common. Our cases suggest that acute cervical spinal epidural hematoma should be considered as a differential diagnosis in patients presenting with clinical symptoms of sudden neck pain and radicular pain with progression to hemiparesis.
doi:10.4061/2011/516382
PMCID: PMC3170783  PMID: 21991415
12.  Clinical Experience and Management of Cervico-Thoracic Epidural Hematoma 
Spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) causing acute myelopathy is rare. The usual clinical presentation of a SEH is sudden severe neck or back pain that progresses toward paraparesis or quadriparesis, depending on the level of the lesion. Recent studies have shown that early decompressive surgery is very important for patient's recovery. We experienced five patients of cervico-thoracic epidural hematomas associated with neurologic deficits that were treated successfully with surgical intervention.
doi:10.3340/jkns.2010.47.5.381
PMCID: PMC2883060  PMID: 20539799
Intraspinal; Epidural; Hematoma; Laminectomy
13.  Postoperative spinal epidural hematoma resulting in cauda equina syndrome: a case report and review of the literature 
Cases Journal  2009;2:8584.
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.
doi:10.4076/1757-1626-2-8584
PMCID: PMC2740261  PMID: 19830087
14.  First aid and treatment for cervical spinal cord injury with fracture and dislocation 
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics  2007;41(4):300-304.
Background:
Traumatic cervical spinal cord injury with subaxial fracture and dislocation not only indicates a highly unstable spine but can also induce life-threatening complications. This makes first aid critically important before any definitive operative procedure is undertaken. The present study analyzes the various first aid measures and operative procedures for such injury.
Materials and Methods:
Two hundred and ninety-five patients suffered from cervical spinal cord injury with fracture and dislocation. The average period between injury and admission was 4.5 days (range 5 h-12 weeks). The injury includes burst fractures (n = 90), compression fractures with herniated discs (n = 50), fractures and dislocation (n = 88) and pure dislocation (n = 36). Other injuries including developmental spinal canal stenosis and/or multi-segment spinal cord compression associated with trauma (n = 12), lamina fractures compressing the spinal cord (n = 6), ligament injuries (n = 7) and hematoma (n = 6) were observed in the present study. The injury level was C4 (n = 17), C5 (n = 29), C6 (n = 39), C7 (n = 35), C4-5 (n = 38), C5-6 (n = 58), C6-7 (n = 49), C4-6 (n = 16) and C5-7 (n = 14). According to the Frankel grading system, grade A was observed in 20 cases, grade B in 91, grade C in 124 and grade D in 60. One hundred and eighteen (40%) patients had a high fever and difficulty in breathing on presentation. First aid measures included early reduction and immobilization of the injured cervical spine, controlling the temperature, breathing support, and administration of high-dose methylprednisolone within eight hours of the injury (n = 12) and administration of dehydration and neurotrophy medicine. Oxygen support was given and tracheotomy was performed for patients with serious difficulty in breathing. Measures were taken to prevent bedsores and infections of the respiratory and urological systems. Two hundred and thirty six patients were treated with anterior decompression, 31 patients were treated by posterior approach surgery and combined anterior and posterior approach surgery was performed in a single sitting on 28 patients.
Results:
All patients were followed for 0.5-18 years (mean 11.8 years). At least one Frankel grade improvement was observed in 178 (60.3%) patients. In the anterior surgery group, the best results were observed in the cases with slight compressive fracture with disc herniation (44/50 patients, 88.0%). In the posterior surgery group, one Frankel grade improvement was observed in the cases with developmental spinal canal stenosis with trauma, lamina fractures, ligament injuries and hematoma (27/31, 87.1%). Most of the patients in the Frankel D group recovered normal neurological function after surgery. The majority of the patients with Frankel C neurological deficit (102/124) had the ability to walk postoperatively, while most of the seriously injured patients (Frankel A and B) had no improvement in their neurological function. Radiolographic fusion of the operated segments occurred in most patients within three months. Loss of intervertebral height and cervical physiological curvature was observed to varying degrees in 30.1% (71/236) of the cases in the anterior surgery group.
Conclusion:
First aid measures of early closed reduction or realignment and immobilization of the cervical spine, breathing support and high-dose methylprednisolone were most important in the treatment for traumatic spinal cord injury. Surgery should be performed as soon as the indications of spinal injury appear. The choice of the approach—anterior, posterior or both, should be based on the type of the injury and the surgeon's experience. Any complications should be actively prevented and treated.
doi:10.4103/0019-5413.36991
PMCID: PMC2989519  PMID: 21139782
Cervical spine; first aid; spinal cord injury; surgical treatment
15.  Adjacent level discitis after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF): a case report 
European Spine Journal  2005;15(Suppl 17):559-563.
This report describes a case of spondylodiscitis occurring adjacent to levels at which anterior cervical discectomy and fusion was performed. The objective is to describe a rare cause of spondylodiscitis and discuss its successful management. Post-operative discitis involving the same level is a known occurrence. We report an interesting case of spondylodiscitis occurring at the adjacent level of fusion, and to our knowledge this is the first such case reported in literature. A two-level decompression and fusion was performed at C5–6 and C6–7 levels with PEEK cages and anterior cervical plating in a middle-aged gentleman for persistent axial neck pain and left-sided radiculopathy involving C6 and C7 distribution. After 6 weeks, the patient presented to us with complaints of mild paresthesia in the abdomen and extremities. Radiological investigations including plain radiographs and MRI revealed a surprising finding of discitis at C4–5 level with an associated epidural abscess. In view of the patient’s myelopathic symptoms, surgical debridement and decompression of the spinal cord was performed. The plate and screws were removed, the cages were left intact, and the C4–5 disc level was reconstructed with tricortical iliac crest autograft. No further instrumentation was performed. The biopsy specimen from the disc at C4–5 level grew Serratia marcescens. It was contemplated that C4–5 discitis was initiated by inoculation of bacteria at the superior endplate of C5 by contaminated vertebral pins/drill-bit or screws. Adjacent level discitis is a rare but potentially serious complication of anterior cervical fusion. A high index of suspicion of infection is necessary if the patient complains of new symptoms after anterior cervical fusion. Thorough assessment and aggressive treatment is necessary for successful management.
doi:10.1007/s00586-005-0003-x
PMCID: PMC1602186  PMID: 16333681
Adjacent level discitis; Cervical spondylodiscitis; Serratia marcescens; Cervical spine; Epidural abscess
16.  Adjacent level discitis after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF): a case report 
European Spine Journal  2005;15(Suppl 5):559-563.
This report describes a case of spondylodiscitis occurring adjacent to levels at which anterior cervical discectomy and fusion was performed. The objective is to describe a rare cause of spondylodiscitis and discuss its successful management. Post-operative discitis involving the same level is a known occurrence. We report an interesting case of spondylodiscitis occurring at the adjacent level of fusion, and to our knowledge this is the first such case reported in literature. A two-level decompression and fusion was performed at C5–6 and C6–7 levels with PEEK cages and anterior cervical plating in a middle-aged gentleman for persistent axial neck pain and left-sided radiculopathy involving C6 and C7 distribution. After 6 weeks, the patient presented to us with complaints of mild paresthesia in the abdomen and extremities. Radiological investigations including plain radiographs and MRI revealed a surprising finding of discitis at C4–5 level with an associated epidural abscess. In view of the patient’s myelopathic symptoms, surgical debridement and decompression of the spinal cord was performed. The plate and screws were removed, the cages were left intact, and the C4–5 disc level was reconstructed with tricortical iliac crest autograft. No further instrumentation was performed. The biopsy specimen from the disc at C4–5 level grew Serratia marcescens. It was contemplated that C4–5 discitis was initiated by inoculation of bacteria at the superior endplate of C5 by contaminated vertebral pins/drill-bit or screws. Adjacent level discitis is a rare but potentially serious complication of anterior cervical fusion. A high index of suspicion of infection is necessary if the patient complains of new symptoms after anterior cervical fusion. Thorough assessment and aggressive treatment is necessary for successful management.
doi:10.1007/s00586-005-0003-x
PMCID: PMC1602186  PMID: 16333681
Adjacent level discitis; Cervical spondylodiscitis; Serratia marcescens; Cervical spine; Epidural abscess
17.  Degenerative spondylolisthesis of the cervical spine — symptoms and surgical strategies depending on disease progress 
European Spine Journal  2004;13(8):680-684.
Background
Degenerative spondylolisthesis of the cervical spine is rare. Patients show signs of progredient myelopathy, radiculopathy and pain. Treatment strategies include ventral, dorsal and combined fusion techniques with or without repositioning and decompression.
Methods
In this study, we present 16 patients with degenerative cervical spondylolisthesis. The leading symptom was severe myelopathy in 8 patients, radiculomyelopathy in 5 patients and neck pain in 3 patients. However, neck pain was the initial symptom in all the patients and decreased when neurological symptoms became more evident. Radiographic examinations included plain radiography, MRI, CT, myelography and lateral tomography.
Results
Spondylolisthesis was located five times at level C3/4, C4/5 and C5/6. In three cases spondylolisthesis was located at level C7/T1. There were two patients with spondylolisthesis on two levels. Instability could be demonstrated by flexion/extension radiography in five cases. Patients were divided into three groups according to a newly introduced classification system. The surgical approach corresponded to this classification. In ten patients the spondylolisthesis could be corrected by extension and positioning, so discectomy and fusion on one or two levels with cage, plate and screws was sufficient. In five cases a corpectomy was necessary due to severe spondylosis. In one case a combined approach with dorsal decompression and release followed by ventral fusion was applied due to additional dorsal spinal cord compression. The follow-up period was 6–52 months. After surgery, none of the patients showed any signs of neurological deterioration. In all cases, a stable fusion was achieved with no signs of instability on flexion/extension radiographs. Neurological improvement was seen in 6 of 8 patients with myelopathy and 4 of 5 patients with radiculomyelopathy. The others showed stable disease. Pain relief was seen in all patients who complained of pain preoperatively.
Conclusion
The aims of treatment for cervical spondylolisthesis are spinal cord decompression (ventral, dorsal or both), correction and fusion. The used procedure should depend on the severity of the cervical deformity, degree and side of the spinal cord compression, and the possibility of correction by extension and positioning.
doi:10.1007/s00586-004-0673-9
PMCID: PMC3454058  PMID: 15221569
Spondylolisthesis; Cervical spine; Myelopathy; Degenerative instability; Fusion
18.  Complete motor recovery after acute paraparesis caused by spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma: case report 
Background
Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma is a relatively rare but potentially disabling disease. Prompt timely surgical management may promote recovery even in severe cases.
Case presentation
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-227X-11-10
PMCID: PMC3160384  PMID: 21794133
19.  Clinical and radiological evaluation of Trabecular Metal and the Smith–Robinson technique in anterior cervical fusion for degenerative disease: a prospective, randomized, controlled study with 2-year follow-up 
European Spine Journal  2009;19(3):464-473.
A prospective, randomized, controlled study was carried out to compare the radiological and clinical outcomes after anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) with Trabecular Metal™ (TM) to the traditional Smith–Robinson (SR) procedure with autograft. The clinical results of cervical fusion with autograft from the iliac crest are typically satisfactory, but implications from the donor site are frequently reported. Alternative materials for cervical body interfusion have shown lower fusion rates. Trabecular Metal is a porous tantalum biomaterial with structure and mechanical properties similar to that of trabecular bone and with proven osteoconductivity. As much as 80 consecutive patients planned for ACDF were randomized for fusion with either TM or tricortical autograft from the iliac crest (SR) after discectomy and decompression. Digitized plain radiographic images of 78 (98%) patients were obtained preoperatively and at 2-year follow-up and were subsequently evaluated by two senior radiologists. Fusion/non-fusion was classified by visual evaluation of the A–P and lateral views in forced flexion/extension of the cervical spine and by measuring the mobility between the fused vertebrae. MRI of 20 TM cases at 2 years was successfully used to assess the decompression of the neural structures, but was not helpful in determining fusion/non-fusion. Pain intensity in the neck, arms and pelvis/hip were rated by patients on a visual analog scale (VAS) and neck function was rated using the Neck Disability Index (NDI) the day before surgery and 4, 12 and 24 months postoperatively. Follow-ups at 12 and 24 months were performed by an unbiased observer, when patients also assessed their global outcome. Fusion rate in the SR group was 92%, and in the TM group 69% (P < 0.05). The accuracy of the measurements was calculated to be 2.4°. Operating time was shorter for fusion with TM compared with autograft; mean times were 100 min (SD 18) and 123 min (SD 23), respectively (P = 0.001). The patients’ global assessments of their neck and arm symptoms 2 years postoperatively for the TM group were rated as 79% much better or better after fusion with TM and 75% using autograft. Pain scores and NDI scores were significantly improved in both groups when compared with baseline at all follow-ups, except for neck pain at 1 year for the TM group. There was no statistically significant difference in clinical outcomes between fusion techniques or between patients who appeared radiologically fused or non-fused. There was no difference in pelvic/hip pain between patients operated on with or without autograft. In our study, Trabecular Metal showed a lower fusion rate than the Smith–Robinson technique with autograft after single-level anterior cervical fusion without plating. There was no difference in clinical outcomes between the groups. The operative time was shorter with Trabecular Metal implants.
doi:10.1007/s00586-009-1161-z
PMCID: PMC2899760  PMID: 19763634
Spinal fusion; Cervical vertebrae; Tantalum; Trabecular Metal; Randomized controlled trial
20.  Cervical Spinal Epidural Hematoma Following Cervical Posterior Laminoforaminotomy 
A 65-year-old man who had lateral cervical disc herniation underwent cervical posterior laminoforaminotomy at C5-6 and C6-7 level right side. During the operation, there was no serious surgical bleeding event. After operation, he complained persistent right shoulder pain and neck pain. Repeated magnetic resonance image (MRI) showed diffuse cervical epidural hematoma (EDH) extending from C5 to T1 level right side and spinal cord compression at C5-6-7 level. He underwent exploration. There was active bleeding at muscular layer. Muscular active bleeding was controlled and intramuscular hematoma was removed. The patient's symptom was reduced after second operation. Symptomatic postoperative spinal EDH requiring reoperation is rare. Meticulous bleeding control is important before wound closure. In addition, if patient presents persistent or aggravated pain after operation, rapid evaluation using MRI and second look operation is needed as soon as possible.
doi:10.3340/jkns.2013.53.2.125
PMCID: PMC3611058  PMID: 23560180
Cervical epidural hematoma; Posterior laminoforaminotomy; Cervical disc herniation; Postoperative bleeding; Reoperation
21.  Anterior spinal pseudomeningocele after C0–C2 traumatic injuries: role of the “dural transitional zone” in the etiopathogenesis 
European Spine Journal  2013;22(Suppl 6):889-893.
Purpose
Spinal pseudomeningoceles (SPM) are extradural collections of CSF (cerebrospinal fluid); a frequent association with upper cervical injuries (UCI) has been observed. We propose a possible etiopathogenetic mechanism supporting the formation of cervical SPM based on some considerations.
Methods
We present four cases of SPM. All patients sustained a severe UCI. Three patients were symptomatic with delayed and progressive clinical signs.
Results
One patient was misinterpreted as epidural hematoma and operated on due to progressive signs with postoperative clinical improvement. The rest of patients were treated conservatively; spontaneous reduction of CSF collection occurred. From a radiological standpoint: (1) a line of demarcation separated the intradural cervical compartment from the anterior epidural space, (2) CSF epidural collection was never evident at C0–C2 level and extended from C2 downwards, and (3) shape of collection was similar to epidural hematomas suggesting a ball-valve mechanism.
Conclusions
The dural layer at C0–C2 level is adherent to the thick ligamentous apparatus, as opposed to the segments below where it is solely covered by the posterior longitudinal ligament. A “transitional zone” of dura exists between the C0–C2 region and subaxial segment of the cervical spine. This watershed area constitutes a point of minor resistance. Lacerations of the meningeal layers, caused by severe UCI at the “transitional zone”, drain CSF into the anterior epidural space and form SPM.
doi:10.1007/s00586-013-3029-5
PMCID: PMC3830023  PMID: 24061976
Pseudomeningocele; Spinal cord injury; Atlanto-axial injury; Cerebrospinal fluid; Ligaments
22.  Spinal Epidural Hematoma Related to Intracranial Hypotension 
Korean Journal of Spine  2013;10(3):203-205.
A 45-year-old female patient visited the hospital complaining of severe sudden headache and posterior neck pain. The patient did not have any traumatic history or abnormal neurologic finding. The patient had sudden quadriplegia and sensory loss. Cervical spine MRI scan was taken, and the compatible findings to acute epidural hematoma were shown. The emergency operation was performed. After the operation, the patient recovered all motor and senses. As there was CSF leakage in the postoperative wound, this was confirmed by cervical spinal computed tomography (CT). Then lumbar drainage was thus performed. The opening pressure upon lumbar puncture was not measured as it was very low. As a result of continous CSF leakage, dural repair was performed. After the operation, the patient had been discharged without neurologic deficits. In this case, it is sensible to suspect intracranial hypotension as a possible cause of spinal EDH.
doi:10.14245/kjs.2013.10.3.203
PMCID: PMC3941751  PMID: 24757490
Spinal epidural hematoma; Headache; Neck pain; Cerebrospinal fluid leakage
23.  Extensive Postoperative Epidural Hematoma After Full Anticoagulation: Case Report and Review of the Literature 
Background/Objective:
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.
Methods:
Case report.
Findings:
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.
Results:
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.
Conclusions:
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.
PMCID: PMC2031966  PMID: 17684896
Spinal stenosis, lumbar; Spinal decompression; Anticoagulation; Epidural hematoma; Laminectomy
24.  An intradural cervical chordoma mimicking schwannoma 
Journal of Injury and Violence Research  2012;4(3 Suppl 1): Paper No. 83.
Abstract:
Chordoma is a relatively rare tumor originating from the embryonic remnants of the notochord. This is an aggressive, slow growing and invasive tumor. It occurs mostly at the two ends of neuroaxis which is more frequent in the sacrococcygeal region. Chordoma in vertebral column is very rare. This tumor is extradural in origin and compresses neural tissues and makes the patient symptomatic. This tumor found extremely rare in the spinal region as an intradural tumor.
The present study reports a rare case of intradural chordoma tumor as well as its clinical manifestations and treatment options.
Case:
The patient was a 50-year-old female presented with 9 months history of progressively worsening neck pain, cervical spine chordoma resembling neurinoma and right arm numbness. Physical examination showed no weakness in her limbs, but she had upward plantar reflex and mild hyperreflexia. In a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the cervical spine there was an ill-defined enhancing mass in the posterior aspect of C2-C3 body caused cord compression more severe in right side as well as foraminal scalloping. The patient underwent surgery and after midline posterior cervical incision and paravertebral muscle stripping a laminectomy was performed from C1 through C4 using a high speed drill. Needle biopsy revealed chordoma on frozen section and all of accessible parts of tumor were excised. The gross and microscopic histopathological appearance was consistent with chordoma.
Chordomas are malignant tumors that arise from remains of embryonic notochord. These ectopic rests of notochord termed “ecchordosis physaliphora “can be found in approximately 2% of autopsies. These are aggressive, slow growing, locally invasive and destructive tumors those occur in the midline of neuroaxis. They generally thought to account for 2% to 4% of all primary bone neoplasms and 1% to 4% malignant bone neoplasms. They are the most frequent primary malignant spinal tumors after plasmacytomas. The incidence has been estimated to be 0.51 cases per million. The most common location is sacrococcygeal region followed by the clivus. These two locations account for approximately 90% of chordomas. Of the tumors that do not arise in the sacrum or clivus, half occur in the cervical region, with the remainder found in the lumbar or thoracic region, in descending order of frequency. Cervical spine chordomas account for 6% of all cases. Distal metastasis most often occurs in young patients, those with sacrococcygeal or vertebral tumors, and those with atypical histological features. These tumors usually spread to contiguous anatomical structures, but they may be found in distant sites (skin, musculoskeletal system, brain, and other internal organs). Seeding of the tumor has also been reported, and the likely mechanism seems to be tumor cell of contamination during the surgical procedures. The usual radiological findings in chordomas of spine are destructive or lytic lesions with occasional sclerotic changes. They tend to lie anterolateral, rather than dorsal towards the cord, and reportedly known to invade the dura. The midline location, destructive nature, soft tissue mass formation and calcification are the radiological hallmarks of chordomas. Computed Tomography (CT) scan is the best imaging modality to delineate areas of osteolytic, osteosclerotic, or mixed areas of bone destruction.Chordoma is usually known as a hypovascular tumor which grows in a lobulated manner. Septal enhancement which reflects a lobulated growth pattern is seen in both CT and MRI and even in gross examination. Other epidural tumors include neurinoma, neurofibroma, meningioma, neuroblastoma, hemangioma, lymphoma and metastases. Their differentiation from chordoma may be difficult due to the same enhancement pattern on CT and MRI.
A dumbbell-shaped chordoma is a rare pathogenic condition. The dumbbell shape is a characteristic finding of neurinomas in spine but in spinal neurinomas extention to transverse foramina has not yet been reported. Although our case mimicked a dumbbell shaped neurogenic tumor, its midline location and destructive pattern were characteristic feature indicating a clue to the diagnosis of chordoma that was already confirmed with histopathology.
This unusual behavior of tumor extension can be explained by the soft and gelatinous nature of the tumor enabling the mass to extend or creep into the existing adjacent anatomical structures.
Keywords:
Cervical Chordoma, Intradural, Computed tomography
PMCID: PMC3571609
25.  Delayed Onset Neurological Deterioration due to a Spinal Epidural Hematoma after a Spine Fracture 
Asian Spine Journal  2007;1(2):98-101.
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.
doi:10.4184/asj.2007.1.2.98
PMCID: PMC2857477  PMID: 20411132
Spinal epidural hematoma; Spine fracture; Neurology

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