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1.  Effect of caudal epidural steroid or saline injection in chronic lumbar radiculopathy: multicentre, blinded, randomised controlled trial 
Objective To assess the efficacy of caudal epidural steroid or saline injection in chronic lumbar radiculopathy in the short (6 weeks), intermediate (12 weeks), and long term (52 weeks).
Design Multicentre, blinded, randomised controlled trial.
Setting Outpatient multidisciplinary back clinics of five Norwegian hospitals.
Participants Between October 2005 and February 2009, 461 patients assessed for inclusion (presenting with lumbar radiculopathy >12 weeks). 328 patients excluded for cauda equina syndrome, severe paresis, severe pain, previous spinal injection or surgery, deformity, pregnancy, ongoing breast feeding, warfarin therapy, ongoing treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, body mass index >30, poorly controlled psychiatric conditions with possible secondary gain, and severe comorbidity.
Interventions Subcutaneous sham injections of 2 mL 0.9% saline, caudal epidural injections of 30 mL 0.9% saline, and caudal epidural injections of 40 mg triamcinolone acetonide in 29 mL 0.9% saline. Participants received two injections with a two week interval.
Main outcome measures Primary: Oswestry disability index scores. Secondary: European quality of life measure, visual analogue scale scores for low back pain and for leg pain.
Results Power calculations required the inclusion of 41 patients per group. We did not allocate 17 of 133 eligible patients because their symptoms improved before randomisation. All groups improved after the interventions, but we found no statistical or clinical differences between the groups over time. For the sham group (n=40), estimated change in the Oswestry disability index from the adjusted baseline value was −4.7 (95% confidence intervals −0.6 to −8.8) at 6 weeks, −11.4 (−6.3 to −14.5) at 12 weeks, and −14.3 (−10.0 to −18.7) at 52 weeks. For the epidural saline intervention group (n=39) compared with the sham group, differences in primary outcome were −0.5 (−6.3 to 5.4) at 6 weeks, 1.4 (−4.5 to 7.2) at 12 weeks, and −1.9 (−8.0 to 4.3) at 52 weeks; for the epidural steroid group (n=37), corresponding differences were −2.9 (−8.7 to 3.0), 4.0 (−1.9 to 9.9), and 1.9 (−4.2 to 8.0). Analysis adjusted for duration of leg pain, back pain, and sick leave did not change this trend.
Conclusions Caudal epidural steroid or saline injections are not recommended for chronic lumbar radiculopathy.
Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN No 12574253.
doi:10.1136/bmj.d5278
PMCID: PMC3172149  PMID: 21914755
2.  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
3.  Sparganosis in the Lumbar Spine : Report of Two Cases and Review of the Literature 
Sparganosis is a rare parasitic infection affecting various organs, including the central nervous system, especially the lumbar epidural space. This report describes the identification of disease and different strategies of treatments with preoperative information. A 42-year-old man presented with a 2-year history of urinary incontinence and impotence. He had a history of ingesting raw frogs 40 years ago. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging showed an intramedullary nodular mass at conus medullaris and severe inflammation in the cauda equina. A 51-year-old woman was admitted with acute pain in the left inguinal area. We observed a lesion which seemed to be a tumor of the lumbar epidural space on MR imaging. She also had a history of ingesting inadequately cooked snakes 10 years ago. In the first patient, mass removal was attempted through laminectomy and parasite infection was identified during intra-operative frozen biopsy. Total removal could not be performed because of severe arachnoiditis and adhesion. We therefore decided to terminate the operation and final histology confirmed dead sparganum infection. We also concluded further surgical trial for total removal of the dead worm and inflammatory grannulation totally. However, after seeing another physician at different hospital, he was operated again which resulted in worsening of pain and neurological deficit. In the second patient, we totally removed dorsal epidural mass. Final histology and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) confirmed living sparganum infection and her pain disappeared. Although the treatment of choice is surgical resection of living sparganum with inflammation, the attempt to remove dead worm and adhesive granulation tissue may cause unwanted complications to the patients. Therefore, the result of preoperative ELISA, as well as the information from image and history, must be considered as important factors to decide whether a surgery is necessary or not.
doi:10.3340/jkns.2011.49.4.241
PMCID: PMC3098431  PMID: 21607186
Sparganosis; Sparganosis in the lumbar vertebrae; Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
4.  Lumbar Spinal Extradural Angiolipoma: Case Report and Review of the Literature 
Angiolipomas in the lumbar spinal region are extremely rare. The present report describes the identification of such a tumor and its removal, and discusses the tumor characteristics and prognosis. A 74-year-old woman was presented with a 5-month history of lower back pain. Severe radiculopathy was experienced in the left leg for 5 days prior to the presentation, and there were no neurological deficits. Magnetic resonance (MR) images showed an approximately 3.5 cm heterogeneously enhanced and elongated mass at the left L5-S1 level. A portion of the mass appeared with high signal intensity on T2-weighted MR images, with low signal intensity on T1-weighted images, and with high signal intensity on T1 fat suppression enhancement images. Resection of the tumor was approached via an L5 and S1 laminectomy. A fibrous sticky yellowish hypervascular tumor was identified. Histological study revealed the tumor as an angiolipoma. Symptoms were relieved after tumor excision, and there were no neurological sequelae. Although extremely rare, lumbar epidural angiolipoma should be considered in the differential diagnosis of lumbar spinal epidural lesions. The prognosis after surgical management of this lesion is favorable.
doi:10.3340/jkns.2008.44.4.265
PMCID: PMC2588319  PMID: 19096690
Angiolipoma; Spinal neoplasm; Lumbar epidural tumor
5.  Synovial Cyst Mimicking an Intraspinal Sacral Mass 
A 68-year-old female had a three-week history of severe low back pain radiating down the posterior left buttocks and left leg exacerbated by standing and walking. Lumbar spine MRI revealed cystic mass with similar intensity to cerebrospinal fluid located on dorsolateral left side of the sacral spinal canal inferior to the S1 pedicle. There was compression of left exiting S1 and traversing S2 nerve roots. Neurosurgery consult was requested to evaluate the cystic mass in the sacral spinal canal. After clinical evaluation, an unusually located synovial cyst was thought possible. Cyst contents were heterogeneous, suggestive of small hemorrhage and acute clinical history seemed reasonable. Left S1 and partial left S2 hemilaminectomy was performed and an epidural, partially hemorrhagic cyst was removed. There was no obvious connection to the ipsilateral L5-S1 facet joint. Pathology revealed synovial cyst, and the patient's leg pain was improved postoperatively. This synovial cyst was unusual as it had no connection with the facet joint intraoperatively and its location in the sacral canal was uncommon.
doi:10.1155/2014/953579
PMCID: PMC3970337  PMID: 24716025
6.  Adolescence spinal epidural abscess with neurological symptoms: case report, a lesson to be re-learnt 
Epidural abscess of the spinal column is a rare condition that can be fatal if left untreated. It promptly progresses and can cause neurologic paralysis, urinary retention or cauda equina syndrome. Compromised immune system that occurs in patients with diabetes mellitus, AIDS, chronic renal failure, alcoholism, or cancer is a predisposing factor. It mostly occurs in adults. Here we would like to report a case of spontaneous pyogenic lumbar epidural abscess with neurological deficit diagnosed in a 15 year old boy. We treated this case successfully with surgical microscopic decompression and drainage.
PMCID: PMC3592942  PMID: 23483810
Spinal infection; Spinal epidural abscess; Antibiotics; Spinal surgery
7.  Perioperative complications with rhBMP-2 in transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion 
European Spine Journal  2010;20(4):612-617.
Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) is commonly used as an ICBG substitute for transforaminal lumbar interbody spine fusion (TLIF). However, multiple recent reports have raised concerns regarding a substantial incidence of perioperative radiculopathy. Also, given the serious complications reported with anterior cervical BMP use, risks related to swelling and edema with TLIF need to be clarified. As TLIF related complications with rhBMP-2 have generally been reported in small series or isolated cases, without a clear denominator, actual complication rates are largely unknown. The purpose this study is to characterize perioperative complications and complication rates in a large consecutive series of TLIF procedures with rhBMP-2. We reviewed inpatient and outpatient medical records for a consecutive series of 204 patients [113 females, 91 males, mean age 49.3 (22–79) years] who underwent TLIF using rhBMP-2 between 2003 and 2007. Complications observed within a 3-month perioperative interval were categorized as to etiology and severity. Wound problems were delineated as wound infection, hematoma/seroma or persistent drainage/superficial dehiscence. Neurologic deficits and radiculopathies were analyzed to determine the presence of a clear etiology (screw misplacement) and identify any potential relationship to rhBMP-2 usage. Complications were observed in 47 of 204 patients (21.6%) during the 3-month perioperative period. Major complications occurred in 13 patients (6.4%) and minor complications in 34 patients (16.7%). New or more severe postoperative neurologic complaints were noted in 13 patients (6.4%), 6 of whom required additional surgery. These cases included one malpositioned pedicle screw and one epidural hematoma. In four patients (2.0%), localized seroma/hematoma in the area of the foramen caused neural compression, and required revision. In one additional patient, vertebral osteolysis caused foraminal narrowing and radiculopathy, but resolved without further surgery. Persistent radiculopathy without clear etiology on imaging studies was seen in six patients. Wound related problems were seen in six patients (2.9%), distributed as wound infection (3), hematoma/seroma (1) and persistent drainage/dehiscence (2). Overall, this study demonstrates a modest complication rate for TLIF using rhBMP-2. While perioperative complications which appeared specific to BMP usage were noted, they occurred infrequently. It will be necessary to weigh this incidence of complications against the complication rate associated with ICBG harvest and any differential benefit in obtaining a solid arthrodesis.
doi:10.1007/s00586-010-1494-7
PMCID: PMC3065615  PMID: 20582554
Bone graft substitute; Bone morphogenetic protein; Transforaminal interbody fusion; Morbidity; Spine fusion
8.  Intraoperative neuromonitoring: lessons learned from 32 case events in 2095 spine cases 
Study type: Restrospective chart review
Introduction: Intraoperative neuromonitoring is becoming the standard of care for many more spinal surgeries, especially with deformity correction and instrumentation. We reviewed our institution's neuromonitored spine cases over the past 4 years to see the immediate intraoperative and postoperative clinical findings when an intraoperative neuromonitoring event was noted.
Objective: The main question addressed in this review is how multimodality intraoperative neuromonitoring has affected our ability to avoid potential neurological injury during spine surgery.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 2,095 neuromonitored spine cases at one institution performed over a period of 4 years. Data from the single neuromonitoring provider (Impulse Monitoring, Inc.) at our institution was collected and any cases with possible intraoperative events were isolated. The intraoperative and immediate postoperative clinical documentation of these 32 cases were reviewed (Table 1).
Summary of each case event with the type of procedure, intraoperative findings, intraoperative intervention, and postoperative findings
Results: There were 17 cases where changes noted on EMG, SSEP, and/or MEPs affected the course of the surgery, and prevented possible postoperative neurological deficits. Of these 17, five were related to hypotension, seven due to deformity correction, one screw had a low triggered EMG threshold and was repositioned, and four cases had changes related to patient positioning and external pressure (ie, brachial plexus stretch). None of the 17 cases had postoperative motor or sensory deficits (Figure 1).
During the insertion of the convex rod: decrease of the MEP amplitude in left foot by 80% amplitude (yellow arrow). The baseline recording is in blue, the current recording in purple. The right side (non represented) will remain normal.
Four cases consisted of intradural cord biopsies or tumor resections that had various positive neuromonitoring findings that essentially serve as controls. These cases confirm that the expected changes were seen on neuromonitoring. Four cases had false-positive neuromonitoring findings due to one technical issue requiring needle repositioning, one low threshold with triggered EMG without a pedicle breach, one case had decreased MEP responses with stable SSEPs, and one case had decreased SSEPs after positioning the patient prone. None of these four cases had any postoperative deficits. Four cases showed improved SSEPs after decompression; three cervical corpectomies, and one thoracic discectomy.
Three cases of lumbar instrumentation with spontaneous EMGs each had a medial screw breach without intraoperative findings (Figure 2). They all had a postoperative motor deficit (foot drop). None of these three cases had triggered EMGs performed with the index procedure.
Left L4 pedicle screw medial breach. Triggered EMGs were not performed during the index procedure. Postoperative foot drop required a second surgery to reposition the screw.
Conclusions: Overall, this review reinforces the importance of multimodality neuromonitoring for spinal surgery. The incidence of possible events in our series was 1.5%. It is difficult to determine the true incidence, since it is impossible to know of any missed events due to lack of complete documentation. In a majority of the cases with events, possible postoperative neurologic deficits were avoided by intraoperative intervention, but the possible outcomes without intervention are not known. Clearly, in the three cases with lumbar pedicle screw malposition, triggered EMGs would have likely shown low thresholds. This would allow for screw reposition, and thus avoid a postoperative lumbar radiculopathy and revision surgery. The incidence of false-positive findings was very low in this review, and unfortunately the true incidence of false-negative findings is not able to be elucidated with this database.
doi:10.1055/s-0028-1100917
PMCID: PMC3623097  PMID: 23637670
9.  Endoscopic Foraminal Decompression for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome under local Anesthesia 
Background
The most common causes of failed back surgery are residual or recurrent herniation, foraminal fibrosis and foraminal stenosis that is ignored, untreated, or undertreated. Residual back ache may also be from facetal causes or denervation and scarring of the paraspinal muscles.1–6 The original surgeon may advise his patient that nothing more can be done on the basis of his opinion that the nerve was visually decompressed by the original surgery, supported by improved post-op imaging and follow-up studies such as EMG and conduction velocity studies. Post-op imaging or electrophysiological assessment may be inadequate to explain all the reasons for residual or recurrent symptoms. Treatment of Failed back surgery by repeat traditional open revision surgery usually incorporates more extensive decompression causing increased instability and back pain, therefore necessitating fusion. The authors, having limited their practice to endoscopic MIS surgery over the last 15-20 years, report on their experience gained during that period to relieve pain by endoscopically visualizing and treating unrecognized causative patho-anatomy in FBSS.7
Methods
Thirty consecutive patients with FBSS presenting with back and leg pain that had supporting imaging diagnosis of lateral stenosis and /or residual / recurrent disc herniation, or whose pain complaint was supported by relief from diagnostic and therapeutic injections (Figure 1), were offered percutaneous transforaminal endoscopic discectomy and foraminoplasty over a repeat open procedure. Each patient sought consultation following a transient successful, partially successful or unsuccessful open translaminar surgical treatment for disc herniation or spinal stenosis. Endoscopic foraminoplasty was also performed to either decompress the bony foramen for foraminal stenosis, or foraminoplasty to allow for endoscopic visual examination of the affected traversing and exiting nerve roots in the axilla, also known as the “hidden zone” of Macnab (Figure 2).8, 9 The average follow up time was, average 40 months, minimum 12 months. Outcome data at each visit included Macnab, VAS and ODI.
A diagnostic and therapeutic epidural gram may help identify unrecognized lateral recess stenosis underestimated by MRI. An excellent result from a therapeutic block lends excellent prognosis for a more lasting and “permanent” result from transforaminal endoscopic lateral recess decompression.
Kambin's Triangle provides access to the “hidden zone” of Macnab by foraminoplasty. The foramen and lateral recess is decompressed by removing the ventral aspect and tip of the superior articular process to gain access to the axilla between the traversing and exiting nerve. FBSS contains patho-anatomy in the axilla between the traversing and exiting nerve that hides the pain generators of FBSS.
Results
The average pre-operative VAS improved from 7.2 to 4.0, and ODI 48% to 31%. While temporary dysesthesia occurred in 4 patients in the early post-operative period, all were happy, as all received additional relief of their pre-op symptoms. They were also relieved to be able to avoid “open” decompression or fusion surgery.
Conclusions / Level of Evidence 3
The transforaminal endoscopic approach is effective for FBSS due to residual/recurrent HNP and lateral stenosis. Failed initial index surgery may involve failure to recognize patho-anatomy in the axilla of the foramen housing the traversing and the exiting nerve, including the DRG, which is located cephalad and near the tip of SAP.10 The transforaminal endoscopic approach effectively decompresses the foramen and does not further destabilize the spine needing stabilization.11 It also avoids going through the previous surgical site.
Clinical Relevance
Disc narrowing as a consequence of translaminar discectomy and progressive degenerative narrowing and spondylolisthesis (Figure 3) as a natural history of degenerative disc disease can lead to central and lateral stenosis. The MRI may underestimate the degree of stenosis from a bulging or a foraminal disc protrusion and residual lateral recess stenosis. Pain can be diagnosed and confirmed by evocative discography and by clinical response to transforaminal diagnostic and therapeutic steroid injections.12 Foraminal endoscopic decompression of the lateral recess is a MIS technique that does not “burn bridges” for a more conventional approach and it adds to the surgical armamentarium of FBSS.
Cadaver Illustration of Foraminal Stenosis (courtesy of Wolfgang Rauschning). As the disc narrows, the superior articular process impinges on the exiting nerve and DRG, creating lateral recess stenosis, lumbar spondylosis, and facet arthrosis.
doi:10.14444/1022
PMCID: PMC4325507
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome(FBSS); Hidden zone; Foraminal decompression; Recurrent herniation; Lateral stenosis; Foraminal osteophyte
10.  Minimally Invasive Pedicle Screw Placement in A Case of L4 Fracture: Case Report with Review of Literature 
Asian Journal of Neurosurgery  2010;5(2):64-69.
Introduction:
Pedicle screw instrumentation provides a rigid construct to promote fusion in cases of spinal trauma and degenerative diseases. Minimally invasive percutaneous technique in lumbar spine is a safe and reliable procedure as compared to the well established Magerl technique. It is a straight forward alternative to open approaches or minimally invasive ones and the accuracy of screw placement is also similar to that reported for other techniques.
Case Report:
A 16 year old high school boy presented to us with accidental fall from third floor. He was suffering from common cold with resulting high fever. He developed low back ache with bilateral radiculopathy and weakness of dorsiflexors. Neuro-imaging revealed a burst fracture of L4 vertebral body (type A 3.3 according to Magerl/AO spine classification), with bone fragments compromising the spinal canal. Delayed surgery was planned in view of anticipated excessive bleeding from the wound site in addition to poor general condition. Using a bone impactor, the bony fragments were impacted back into the original vertebral body space. Sextant (Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Tennessee, USA) percutaneous pedicle screw and rod fixation device was then used as a rigid construct to stabilize the lumbar spine. Post-operative CT scan and MRI revealed accurate pedicle screw fixation with adequately decompressed spinal canal.
Conclusion:
Short segment fusion with minimally invasive pedicle screwing following decompression of cauda equina was considered to be a minimally invasive approach for this case.
PMCID: PMC3201084  PMID: 22028760
Percutaneous pedicle screw; burst fracture; lumbar spine
11.  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
12.  Cervical Radiculopathy: A Review 
HSS Journal  2011;7(3):265-272.
Background
Cervical radiculopathy is defined as a syndrome of pain and/or sensorimotor deficits due to compression of a cervical nerve root. Understanding of this disease is vital for rapid diagnosis and treatment of patients with this condition, facilitating their recovery and return to regular activity.
Purpose
This review is designed to clarify (1) the pathophysiology that leads to nerve root compression; (2) the diagnosis of the disease guided by history, physical exam, imaging, and electrophysiology; and (3) operative and non-operative options for treatment and how these should be applied.
Methods
The PubMed database was searched for relevant articles and these articles were reviewed by independent authors. The conclusions are presented in this manuscript.
Results
Facet joint spondylosis and herniation of the intervertebral disc are the most common causes of nerve root compression. The clinical consequence of radiculopathy is arm pain or paresthesias in the dermatomal distribution of the affected nerve and may or may not be associated with neck pain and motor weakness. Patient history and clinical examination are important for diagnosis. Further imaging modalities, such as x-ray, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and electrophysiologic testing, are of importance. Most patients will significantly improve from non-surgical active and passive therapies. Indicated for surgery are patients with clinically significant motor deficits, debilitating pain that is resistant to conservative modalities and/or time, or instability in the setting of disabling radiculopathy. Surgical treatment options include anterior cervical decompression with fusion and posterior cervical laminoforaminotomy.
Conclusion
Understanding the pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment indications, and treatment techniques is essential for rapid diagnosis and care of patients with cervical radiculopathy.
doi:10.1007/s11420-011-9218-z
PMCID: PMC3192889  PMID: 23024624
cervical radiculopathy; disc herniation; ACDF; ADF; posterior cervical laminoforaminotomy; posterior cervical foraminotomy
13.  Minimally invasive surgical decompression for lumbar spinal metastases 
Background:
The risk of significant morbidity and mortality often outweighs the benefit of surgical resection as palliative treatment for patients with high systemic disease burden, poor cardiopulmonary status, and previous spinal surgeries. Minimally invasive surgical (MIS) approaches to decompressing metastatic epidural cord compression (MECC) can address these issues and thereby make palliation a feasible option for these patients.
Case Description:
We present the cases of three consecutively collected patients with severe neurological compromise secondary to lumbar epidural metastases who underwent MIS decompression and achieved improved functional outcome and quality of life. The first patient is a 23-year-old female with metastatic Ewing's sarcoma who presented with 2 weeks of a right foot drop and radiculopathic pain. The next case is that of a 71-year-old male with metastatic prostate cancer who presented with significant radiculopathic L5-S1 pain and severe motor deficits in his lower extremities. The last case is that of a 73-year-old male with metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma who presented with worsening left leg weakness, paresthesia, and dysethesia. Postoperatively, each patient experienced significant improvement and almost complete enduring return of function, strength, and resolution of pain.
Conclusion:
We demonstrate that MIS approaches to spinal decompression as palliative treatment for metastatic disease is a viable treatment in patients with a focal symptomatic lesion and comes with the benefits of decreased surgical morbidity inherent to the minimally invasive approach as well as excellent functional outcomes.
doi:10.4103/2152-7806.113337
PMCID: PMC3707324  PMID: 23869278
Epidural metastases; Ewing's sarcoma; metastatic; palliation; spinal decompression
14.  Sacral laminoplasty and cystic fenestration in the treatment of symptomatic sacral perineural (Tarlov) cysts: Technical case report 
Background:
Perineural cysts of the sacrum, or Tarlov cysts, are cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-filled sacs that commonly occur at the intersection of the dorsal root ganglion and posterior nerve root in the lumbosacral spine. Although often asymptomatic, these cysts have the potential to produce significant symptoms, including pain, weakness, and/or bowel or bladder incontinence. We present a case in which the sacral roof is removed and reconstructed via plated laminoplasty and describe how this technique could be of potential use in maximizing outcomes.
Methods:
We describe technical aspects of a sacral laminoplasty in conjunction with cyst fenestration for a symptomatic sacral perineural cyst in a 50-year-old female with severe sacral pain, lumbosacral radiculopathy, and progressive incontinence. This patient had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT)-myelographic evidence of a non-filling, 1.7 × 1.4 cm perineural cyst that was causing significant compression of the cauda equina and sacral nerve roots. This surgical technique was also employed in a total of 18 patients for symptomatic tarlov cysts with their radiographic and clinical results followed in a prospective fashion.
Results:
Intraoperative images, drawings, and video are presented to demonstrate both the technical aspects of this technique and the regional anatomy. Postoperative MRI scan demonstrated complete removal of the Tarlov cyst. The patient's symptoms improved dramatically and she regained normal bladder function. There was no evidence of radiographic recurrence at 12 months. At an average 16 month followup interval 10/18 patients had significant relief with mild or no residual complaints, 3/18 reported relief but had persistent coccydynia around the surgical area, 2/18 had primary relief but developed new low back pain and/or lumbar radiculopathy, 2/18 remained at their preoperative level of symptoms, and 1/18 had relief of their preoperative leg pain but developed new pain and neurological deficits.
Conclusions:
Sacral laminoplasty and microscopic cystic fenestration is a feasible approach in the operative treatment of this difficult, and often controversial, spinal pathology. This technique may be used further and studied in an attempt to minimize potential surgical morbidity, including CSF leaks, cyst recurrence, and sacral insufficiency fractures.
doi:10.4103/2152-7806.85469
PMCID: PMC3205499  PMID: 22059124
Laminoplasty; perineural cyst; sacral; Tarlov cyst
15.  Surgical removal of extravasated epidural and neuroforaminal polymethylmethacrylate after percutaneous vertebroplasty in the thoracic spine 
European Spine Journal  2006;16(Suppl 3):326-331.
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.
doi:10.1007/s00586-006-0237-2
PMCID: PMC2148084  PMID: 17053943
Vertebroplasty; Polymethylmethacrylate; Epidural extravasations; Thoracic myelopathy; Surgical removal
16.  Subacute steroid-induced paraparesis: surgical treatment of a devastating “invisible” side effect 
European Spine Journal  2012;21(Suppl 4):542-544.
Purpose
To emphasize an underestimated side effect following long-term use of steroids.
Methods
We report on surgical treatment of two patients with serious neurologic deficits caused by epidural spinal lipoma following long-term intake of cortisone.
Results
Early decompression of the spinal cord by removal of epidural lipoma was the most effective treatment in these patients with progressive symptoms.
Conclusion
Diagnostic work-up of such patients should include early spinal MRI resulting in surgical intervention, if indicated. Decompression of the spinal cord eventually combined with fusion is necessary.
doi:10.1007/s00586-012-2185-3
PMCID: PMC3369028  PMID: 22370924
Lipoma; Paraplegia; Spinal instrumentation; Spinal tumor; Steroids
17.  A Prospective, Observational Study of the Relationship Between Body Mass Index and Depth of the Epidural Space During Lumbar Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection 
Background and Objectives
Previous studies have concluded that transforaminal epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are more effective than interlaminar injections in the treatment of radiculopathies due to lumbar intervertebral disk herniation. There are no published studies examining the depth of epidural space using a transforaminal approach. We investigated the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and the depth of the epidural space during lumbar transforaminal ESIs.
Methods
Eighty-six consecutive patients undergoing lumbar transforaminal ESI at the L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1 levels were studied. Using standard protocol, the foraminal epidural space was attained using fluoroscopic guidance. The measured distance from needle tip to skin was recorded (depth to foraminal epidural space). The differences in the needle depth and BMI were analyzed using regression analysis.
Results
Needle depth was positively associated with BMI (regression coefficient [RC], 1.13; P < 0.001). The median depths (in centimeters) to the epidural space were 6.3, 7.5, 8.4, 10.0, 10.4, and 12.2 for underweight, normal, preobese, obese I, obese II, and obese III classifications, respectively. Sex (RC, 1.3; P = 0.02) and race (RC, 0.8; P = 0.04) were also significantly associated with needle depth; however, neither factor remained significant when BMI was accounted as a covariate in the regression model. Age, intervertebral level treated, and oblique angle had no predictive value on foraminal depth (P > 0.2).
Conclusion
There is a positive association between BMI and transforaminal epidural depth, but not with age, sex, race, oblique angle, or intervertebral level.
doi:10.1097/AAP.0b013e31819a12ba
PMCID: PMC2715548  PMID: 19282707
18.  Complications arising from a misdiagnosed giant lipoma of the hand and palm: a case report 
Introduction
Lipomas are benign tumors which may appear in almost any human organ. Their diagnosis rate in the hand region is not known.
Case Presentation
We present the case of a 63-year-old Greek Caucasian woman with a giant lipoma of the hand and palm which was not initially diagnosed. After repeated surgical decompression of the carpal tunnel the patient was referred with persisting symptoms of median and ulnar nerve compression and a prominent mass of her left palm and thenar eminence. Clinical examination, magnetic resonance imaging, nerve conduction study and biopsy, revealed a giant lipoma in the deep palmar space (8.0 × 4.0 × 3.75 cm), which was also infiltrating the carpal tunnel. She had already undergone two operations for carpal tunnel syndrome with no relief of her symptoms and she also ended up with a severed flexor pollicis longus tendon. Definitive treatment was performed by marginal resection of the lipoma and restoration of the flexor pollicis longus with an intercalated graft harvested from the palmaris longus. Thirty months after surgery the patient had a fully functional hand without any neurological deficit.
Conclusion
Not all lipomas of the wrist and hand are diagnosed. Our report tries to emphasize the hidden danger of lipomas in cases with carpal tunnel symptoms. The need for a high index of suspicion in conjunction with good clinical evaluation and the use of appropriate investigative studies is mandatory in order to avoid unnecessary operations and complications. Marginal excision of these tumors is restorative.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-5-552
PMCID: PMC3227629  PMID: 22085433
19.  A morphometric cadaver study of the anterior lumbar epidural space 
European Spine Journal  2012;21(8):1479-1482.
Introduction
Free disc fragments end often up in the concavity of the anterior epidural space. This space consists of two compartments. The discrepancy between the impressive magnetic resonance imaging findings, clinical symptoms in patients and the problem of treatment options led us to the anatomical determination of anterior epidural space volumes.
Materials and methods
For the first time, the left and right anterior epidural volume between the peridural membrane and the posterior concavity of the lumbar vertebral bodies L3–S1 were determined for each segment. A CT scan and a polyester resin injection were used for the in vitro measurements.
Results
The volumes determined in human cadavers using this method ranged from 0.23 ccm for L3 to 0.34 ccm for L5. The CT concavity volume determination showed this increase in volume from cranial to caudal, as well.
Conclusion
This volume is large enough to hold average-sized slipped discs without causing neurological deficits. A better understanding of the anterior epidural space may allow a better distinction of patient treatment options.
doi:10.1007/s00586-011-2139-1
PMCID: PMC3535248  PMID: 22286513
Anterior epidural space spinal anatomy; Lumbar disc herniation; Free disc fragment
20.  Post-traumatic Lumbar Epidural Hematoma with Neurology: Report of 1 Case 
Asian Spine Journal  2011;5(2):130-132.
The purpose of this study was to report a case with post-traumatic spinal epidural hematomas with abnormal neurologic findings, which is uncommon. A 40-year-old man presented at our clinic after a blunt trauma caused by a traffic accident in which he was a pedestrian. After admission, abnormal neurologic symptoms developed including loss of sensation and motor function in his left lower extremity. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a spinal epidural hematoma with 40% canal stenosis at the L5-S1 level. Decompression including hematoma evacuation was done. Symptoms started to be reduced 18 days after operation. He was treated conservatively with medications and all symptoms resolved completely during admission and there were no further neurologic sequelae. Post-traumatic lumbar spinal epidural hematoma with abnormal neurologic findings is an uncommon condition that may present belatedly after trauma with significant neurologic compromise.
doi:10.4184/asj.2011.5.2.130
PMCID: PMC3095803  PMID: 21629489
Lumbar spine; Epidural hematoma; Neurology
21.  Transient cauda equina syndrome related to a sacral schwannoma with cauda equine compression after a lumbar epidural block -A case report- 
Korean Journal of Anesthesiology  2010;59(Suppl):S222-S225.
A 53-year-old man had chronic low back and leg pain for four years without any history of trauma or neurological manifestations. There was a reduction in symptoms after a lumbar epidural block. Two hours later after the procedure, the patient complained of perineal numbness and lower extremity weakness. The neurological evaluation revealed loss of sensation in the saddle area and the posterior aspect of the leg. The deep-tendon reflexes were decreased in the leg. The patient was unable to urinate. The MRI revealed a schwannoma at the S3 level of the sacral spine with cauda equina compression. The patient's symptoms improved slightly over the next few hours. The patient had a gradual return of motor function and could feel the Foley catheter. All of the symptoms completely resolved over the next nine hours and the patient was discharged to home once completely recovered. This case illustrates the importance of clinical examination and continued vigilance for evaluation of neurological deterioration after epidural injections.
doi:10.4097/kjae.2010.59.S.S222
PMCID: PMC3030042  PMID: 21286446
Cauda equina syndrome; Low back pain; Schwannoma
22.  A case of indirect cauda equina syndrome from metastatic prostate cancer 
We report the case of a patient with metastatic hormone refractory prostate cancer in whom “indirect” cauda equina syndrome developed concurrent with multilevel spinal cord compression (SCC). Three months after his first positive bone scan, a 65-year-old otherwise healthy man presented with severe back pain, bilateral lower extremity paresthesias, leg weakness and urinary retention. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed a dural-based mass causing SCC at the T9, T10 and T11 vertebrae, with a normal cauda equina. He received corticosteroids and palliative external beam radiotherapy, resulting in good pain control and gradual improvement in his neurological symptoms. He did well for 8 months, at which time his residual bilateral leg weakness abruptly worsened and he experienced numbness, paresthesias, urinary incontinence and constipation. Repeat MRI showed progression of epidural metastatic disease compressing the spinal cord or thecal sac at 7 thoracic vertebral levels. The cauda equina was also distorted and flattened without evidence of direct solid tumour impingement. We hypothesized that the etiology was increased intrathecal pressure due to disrupted cerebrospinal fluid flow resulting from multiple levels of upstream thecal sac compression. It is essential to image the entire spinal cord and cauda equina when patients with metastatic bone disease present with neurological symptoms to institute correct treatment and preserve function and mobility.
PMCID: PMC2723889  PMID: 19672434
23.  Midline synovial and ganglion cysts causing neurogenic claudication 
Typically situated posterolateral in the spinal canal, intraspinal facet cysts often cause radicular symptoms. Rarely, the midline location of these synovial or ganglion cysts may cause thecal sac compression leading to neurogenic claudication or cauda equina syndrome. This article summarizes the clinical presentation, radiographic appearance, and management of three intraspinal, midline facet cysts. Three patients with symptomatic midline intraspinal facet cysts were retrospectively reviewed. Documented clinical visits, operative notes, histopathology reports, and imaging findings were investigated for each patient. One patient presented with neurogenic claudication while two patients developed partial, subacute cauda equina syndrome. All 3 patients initially responded favorably to lumbar decompression and midline cyst resection; however, one patient required surgical stabilization 8 mo later. Following the three case presentations, we performed a thorough literature search in order to identify articles describing intraspinal cystic lesions in lateral or midline locations. Midline intraspinal facet cysts represent an uncommon cause of lumbar stenosis and thecal sac compression. Such entities should enter the differential diagnosis of midline posterior cystic lesions. Midline cysts causing thecal sac compression respond favorably to lumbar surgical decompression and cyst resection. Though laminectomy is a commonly performed operation, stabilization may be required in cases of spondylolisthesis or instability.
doi:10.12998/wjcc.v1.i9.285
PMCID: PMC3868712  PMID: 24364023
Midline; Synovial; Ganglion; Intraspinal; Cyst; Neurogenic; Claudication; Laminectomy; Facet
24.  Epidural abscess caused by Streptococcus milleri in a pregnant woman 
Background
Bacteria in the Streptococcus milleri group (S. anginosus, S. constellatus, and S. intermedius) are associated with bacteremia and abscess formation. While most reports of Streptococcus milleri group (SMG) infection occur in patients with underlying medical conditions, SMG infections during pregnancy have been documented. However, SMG infections in pregnant women are associated with either neonatal or maternal puerperal sepsis. Albeit rare, S. milleri spinal-epidural abscess in pregnancy has been reported, always as a complication of spinal-epidural anesthesia. We report a case of spinal-epidural abscess caused by SMG in a young, pregnant woman without an antecedent history of spinal epidural anesthesia and without any underlying risk factors for invasive streptococcal disease.
Case presentation
A 25 year old pregnant woman developed neurological symptoms consistent with spinal cord compression at 20 weeks gestation. She underwent emergency laminectomy for decompression and was treated with ceftriaxone 2 gm IV daily for 28 days. She was ambulatory at the time of discharge from the inpatient rehabilitation unit with residual lower extremity weakness.
Conclusion
To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of a Streptococcus milleri epidural abscess in a healthy, pregnant woman with no history of epidural anesthesia or invasive procedures. This report adds to the body of literature on SMG invasive infections. Treatment of SMG spinal-epidural abscess with neurologic manifestations should include prompt and aggressive surgical decompression coupled with targeted anti-infective therapy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-100
PMCID: PMC1289282  PMID: 16269087
25.  Pure Epidural Cavernous Hemangioma of the Cervical Spine that Presented with an Acute Sensory Deficit Caused by Hemorrhage 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2006;47(6):877-880.
Pure epidural cavernous hemangioma of the spine without vertebral involvement is rare. Due to the slow growth of this lesion, the most common symptoms are chronic pain, myelopathy, and radiculopathy. In our case, the patient complained of an acute onset sensory deficit of the C4 dermatome. An MRI revealed an epidural mass with an acute hematoma. Here, we report a case of a pure epidural cavernous hemangioma that presented with acute neurologic symptoms caused by intralesional hemorrhage and an acute epidural hematoma, which were demonstrated on the patient's MRI.
doi:10.3349/ymj.2006.47.6.877
PMCID: PMC2687831  PMID: 17191320
Cavernous hemangioma; spine; magnetic resonance imaging; epidural space

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