Pneumorrhachis, which involves the entrapment of air or gas within the spinal canal, is a rare clinical entity, and the pathogenesis and etiologies of this uncommon entity are various and can present a diagnostic challenge. Usually, pneumorrhachis represents an asymptomatic epiphenomenon but it can produce symptoms associated with its underlying pathology. Here, we report a rare case of symptomatic epidural pneumorrhachis accompanying pneumothorax. Possible pathogenic mechanisms are discussed and a review of the literature is included.
After spinal cord injury (SCI), functional and structural reorganization occurs at multiple levels of brain including motor cortex. However, the underlying mechanism still remains unclear. The current study was performed to investigate the alterations in the expression of the main regulators of neuronal development, survival and death, in the brain following thoracic contusive SCI in a mouse model.
Eight-week-old female imprinting control region mice (n=60; 30-35 g) were used in this study. We analyzed the expression levels of regulators such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), nerve growth factor (NGF) and histone deacetylase (HDAC) 1 in the brain following thoracic contusive SCI.
The expression of BDNF levels were elevated significantly compared with control group at 2 weeks after injury (p<0.05). The expression of NGF levels were elevated at 2, 4 weeks compared with control group, but these difference were not significant (p>0.05). The GDNF levels were elevated at 2 week compared with control group, but these differences were not significant (p>0.05). The difference of HDAC1 levels were not significant at 2, 4 and 8 weeks compared with control group (p>0.05).
These results demonstrate that the upregulation of BDNF may play on important role in brain reorganization after SCI.
Spinal cord injury; Regulators; Brain; Brain derived neurotrophic factor; Epigenetic
Perforation of the hypopharynx, which can occur after anterior cervical approach, is a very rare type of complication. If diagnosed late, it can lead to very fatal course, such as mediastinitis and hematosepsis. Therefore, a precise and prompt diagnosis is crucial. When conservative treatment alone is not expected to heal the perforated site or is likely to lead to serious complications, surgical treatment becomes necessary. This report demonstrates that surgical intervention performed immediately after an early diagnosis can lead to the successful treatment of a large perforation in the hypopharynx on a 58-year-old male patient.
Hypopharynx; Perforation; Cervical
Rhabdomyolysis is a rare but potentially life-threatening disorder caused by the release of injured skeletal muscle components into the circulation. The authors report a case of severe head injury, in which a hyperosmolar state and continuous seizure complicated by severe rhabdomyolysis and acute renal failure evolved during the course of treatment resulted in a fatal outcome despite intensive supportive treatment. Our bitter experience suggests that rhabdomyolysis should be born in mind in patients with severe head injury who may develop hyperosmolar state and continuous seizure.
Rhabdomyolysis; Head injury
Pneumocephalus is a condition characterized by the presence of air in the cranium, and it is mainly caused by trauma or a neurosurgical procedure. In the absence of head trauma or a neurosurgical procedure, meningitis is an extremely rare cause of pneumocephalus. Here, the authors present a rare case of spontaneous pneumocephalus caused by pneumococcal meningitis, in which simple lateral radiography and computed tomography (CT) findings of the skull suggested the diagnosis. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis showed bacterial meningitis which later revealed streptococcus pneumonia. The patient was treated with antibiotics and responded remarkably well. Repeat CT performed after 2 weeks of treatment showed complete resolution of the intracranial gas. Here, the authors report an unusual case of a pneumocephalus caused by meningitis in the absence of head trauma or a neurosurgical procedure.
Burr hole drainage has been widely used to treat chronic subdural hematomas (SDH), and most of them are easily treated by simple trephination and drainage. However, various complications, such as, hematoma recurrence, infection, seizure, cerebral edema, tension pneumocephalus and failure of the brain to expand due to cerebro-cranial disproportion may develop after chronic SDH drainage. Among them, intracerebral hemorrhage after evacuation of a recurrent chronic SDH is very rare. Here, we report a fatal case of delayed intracerebral hemorrhage caused by coagulopathy following evacuation of a chronic SDH. Possible pathogenic mechanisms of this unfavorable complication are discussed and a review of pertinent literature is included.
Chronic subdural hematoma; Complication; Intracerebral hemorrhage
The purpose of this study was to compare the results of three types of short segment screw fixation for thoracolumbar burst fracture accompanying osteopenia.
The records of 70 patients who underwent short segment screw fixation for a thoracolumbar burst fracture accompanying osteopenia (-2.5< mean T score by bone mineral densitometry <-1.0) from January 2005 to January 2008 were reviewed. Patients were divided into three groups based on whether or not bone fusion and bone cement augmentation procedure 1) Group I (n=26) : short segment fixation with posterolateral bone fusion; 2) Group II (n=23) : bone cement augmented short segment fixation with posterolateral bone fusion; 3) Group III (n=21) : bone cement augmented, short segment percutaneous screw fixation without bone fusion. Clinical outcomes were assessed using a visual analogue scale and modified MacNab's criteria. Radiological findings, including kyphotic angle and vertebral height, and procedure-related complications, such as screw loosening or pull-out, were analyzed.
No significant difference in radiographic or clinical outcomes was noted between patients managed using the three different techniques at last follow up. However, Group I showed more correction loss of kyphotic deformities and vertebral height loss at final follow-up, and Group I had higher screw loosening and implant failure rates than Group II or III.
Bone cement augmented procedure can be an efficient and safe surgical techniques in terms of achieving better outcomes with minimal complications for thoracolumbar burst fracture accompanying osteopenia.
Burst fracture; Osteopenia; Fusion
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma rarely originates from bone, and even more infrequently from a vertebral body. Lymphoblastic lymphoma is a rare type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and results from an abnormality in adaptive immune cells. A 27-year-old man presented with a two-month history of night sweats, weight loss, and severe back pain. Radiological studies demonstrated an osteolytic lesion compressing the subarachnoid space at the T11 level. Posterolateral fusion with decompression was performed and a pathologic examination confirmed lymphoblastic lymphoma of the B-cell precursor type. To our knowledge, this is the first report of solitary lymphoblastic lymphoma from B-cell precursors in of the thoracic spine. Herein, we discuss the presenting symptoms and the management of this rare case of lymphoblastic lymphoma.
Lymphoblastic lymphoma; Spine
Isolated tuberculosis of the coccyx is extremely rare. A 35-year-old man presented with a 3-month history of coccygeal and gluteal pain. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging revealed osseous destruction and a large enhancing mass involving the coccyx with anterior and posterior extension. Pathologic examination of the surgical specimen revealed necrosis, chronic granulomatous inflammation, and multinucleated giant cells consistent with tuberculosis. This case highlights the importance of considering tuberculosis as a diagnosis even though unusual sites are involved.
The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of bone cement-augmented short segment fixation using percutaneous screws for thoracolumbar burst fractures in a background of severe osteoporosis.
Sixteen patients with a single-level thoracolumbar burst fracture (T11-L2) accompanying severe osteoporosis treated from January 2008 to November 2009 were prospectively analyzed. Surgical procedures included postural reduction for 3 days and bone cement augmented percutaneous screw fixation at the fracture level and at adjacent levels without bone fusion. Due to the possibility of implant failure, patients underwent implant removal 12 months after screw fixation. Imaging and clinical findings, including involved vertebral levels, local kyphosis, canal encroachment, and complications were analyzed.
Prior to surgery, mean pain score (visual analogue scale) was 8.2 and this decreased to a mean of 2.2 at 12 months after screw fixation. None of the patients complained of pain worsening during the 6 months following implant removal. The percentage of canal compromise at the fractured level improved from a mean of 41.0% to 18.4% at 12 months after surgery. Mean kyphotic angle was improved significantly from 19.8° before surgery to 7.8 at 12 months after screw fixation. Canal compromise and kyphotic angle improvements were maintained at 6 months after implant removal. No significant neurological deterioration or complications occurred after screw removal in any patient.
Bone cement augmented short segment fixation using a percutaneous system can be an alternative to the traditional open technique for the management of selected thoracolumbar burst fractures accompanied by severe osteoporosis.
Burst fracture; Fusion; Percutaneous
Osseous bridging between lumbar transverse processes is an uncommon condition that may cause low back pain. In most cases, its etiology is alleged to be trauma to the back and only rarely has a congenital origin been indicated. Furthermore, most reported cases involved adults, the majority of whom were middle-aged. Here, the authors describe the case of the youngest girl reported to date with congenital transverse process bridging. As far as the authors' knowledge, there has been no report of congenital bridging of transverse processes in children or adolescents in Korea.
Low back pain; Transverse process; Osseous bridging
Alcoholic neuropathy is characterized by allodynia (a discomfort evoked by normally innocuous stimuli), hyperalgesia (an exaggerated pain in response to painful stimuli) and spontaneous burning pain. The aim of the present study is to investigate the effect of rolipram, a phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor, against alcohol-induced neuropathy in rats.
Allodynia was induced by administering 35% v/v ethanol (10 g/kg; oral gavage) to Spraue-Dawley rats for 8 weeks. Rolipram and saline (vehicle) were administered intraperitoneally. Mechanical allodynia was measured by using von Frey filaments. Somatosensory evoked potential (SEP) was proposed as complementary measure to assess the integrity of nerve pathway.
The ethanol-induced mechanical allodynia began to manifest from 3 week, and then peaked within 1 week. Beginning from 3 week, latency significantly started to increased in control group. In rolipram treated rats, the shorter latency was sustained until 8 weeks (p<0.05). The mechanical allodynia, which began to manifest on the 3 weeks, intraperitoneal injections of rolipram sustained statistical difference until 8 weeks, the final week of the study (p<0.05).
This study suggests that rolipram might alleviate mechanical allodynia induced by alcohol in rats, which clearly has clinical implication.
Alcoholic neuropathy; Phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor; Rolipram
Bacterial meningitis is rarely complicated by an intradural spinal abscess, and recurrent meningitis is an uncommon presentation of a spinal intramedullary abscess. Here, we report a 63-year-old patient with recurrent meningitis as the first manifestation of an underlying spinal intramedullary abscess. To the best of our knowledge, no previous report has been issued on recurrent meningitis accompanied by a spinal intramedullary abscess in an adult. In this article, the pathophysiological mechanism of this uncommon entity is discussed and the relevant literature reviewed.
Spinal; Intramedullary abscess; Meningitis
There has been no report of bilateral pedicle stress fractures involving two vertebrae. The authors describe a unique case of spondylolisthesis accompanying a bilateral pedicle stress fracture involving two vertebrae. De novo development of spondylolisthesis at the L5-S1 vertebrae accompanying a bilateral pedicle stress fracture at L4 and L5 was observed in a 70-year-old woman. The patient's medical history was unremarkable and she did not have any predisposing factors except severe osteoporosis. Interbody fusion with bone cement augmented screw fixation was performed. Surgical treatment resulted in good pain management and improved functional recovery.
Spondylolisthesis; Bilateral pedicle fracture; Osteoporosis
Oblique basal skull fractures resulting from lateral crushing injuries involving both clivus and occipital condyle are rare due to their deep locations. Furthermore, these fractures may present clinically with multiple cranial nerve injuries because neural exit routes are restricted in this intricate region. The authors present an interesting case of basal skull fractures involving the clivus and occipital condyle and presenting with sixth and contralateral twelfth cranial nerve deficits. Clinico-anatomic correlations and the courses of cranial nerve deficits are reiterated. To the authors' knowledge, no other report has been previously issued on concomitant sixth and contralateral twelfth cranial nerve palsies following closed head injury.
Basal skull fracture; Cranial nerve palsy
The purpose of this prospective study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of screw fixation without bone fusion for unstable thoracolumbar and lumbar burst fracture.
Nine patients younger than 40 years underwent screw fixation without bone fusion, following postural reduction using a soft roll at the involved vertebra, in cases of burst fracture. Their motor power was intact in spite of severe canal compromise. The surgical procedure included postural reduction for 3 days and screw fixations at one level above, one level below and at the fractured level itself. The patients underwent removal of implants 12 months after the initial operation, due to possibility of implant failure. Imaging and clinical findings, including canal encroachment, vertebral height, clinical outcome, and complications were analyzed.
Prior to surgery, the mean pain score (visual analogue scale) was 8.2, which decreased to 2.2 at 12 months after screw fixation. None of the patients complained of worsening of pain during 6 months after implant removal. All patients were graded as having excellent or good outcomes at 6 months after implant removal. The proportion of canal compromise at the fractured level improved from 55% to 35% at 12 months after surgery. The mean preoperative vertebral height loss was 45.3%, which improved to 20.6% at 6 months after implant removal. There were no neurological deficits related to neural injury. The improved vertebral height and canal compromise were maintained at 6 months after implant removal.
Short segment pedicle screw fixation, including fractured level itself, without bone fusion following postural reduction can be an effective and safe operative technique in the management of selected young patients suffering from unstable burst fracture.
Screw fixation; Burst fracture; Bone fusion
Discal cyst is rare and causes indistinguishable symptoms from lumbar disc herniation. The clinical manifestations and pathological features of discal cyst have not yet been completely known. Discal cyst has been treated with surgery or with direct intervention such as computed tomography (CT) guided aspiration and steroid injection. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the percutaneous endoscopic surgery for lumbar discal cyst over at least 6 months follow-up.
All 8 cases of discal cyst with radiculopathy were treated by percutaneous endoscopic surgery by transforaminal approach. The involved levels include L5-S1 in 1 patient, L3-4 in 2, and L4-5 in 5. The preoperative magnetic resonance imaging and 3-dimensional CT with discogram images in all cases showed a connection between the cyst and the involved intervertebral disc. Over a 6-months period, self-reported measures were assessed using an outcome questionaire that incorporated total back-related medical resource utilization and improvement of leg pain [visual analogue scale (VAS) and Macnab's criteria].
All 8 patients underwent endoscopic excision of the cyst with additional partial discectomy. Seven patients obtained immediate relief of symptoms after removal of the cyst by endoscopic approach. There were no recurrent lesions during follow-up period. The mean preoperative VAS for leg pain was 8.25±0.5. At the last examination followed longer than 6 month, the mean VAS for leg pain was 2.25±2.21. According to MacNab' criteria, 4 patients (50%) had excellent results, 3 patients (37.5%) had good results; thus, satisfactory results were achieved in 7 patients (87.5%). However, one case had unsatisfactory result with persistent leg pain and another paresthesia.
The radicular symptoms were remarkably improved in most patients immediately after percutaneous endoscopic cystectomy by transforaminal approach.
Lumbar discal cyst; Percutaneous endoscopic transforaminal cystectomy
Simultaneous intracranial and spinal subdural hematomas are extremely rare. In most cases, they are attributed to major or minor trauma and iatrogenic causes, such as those resulting from spinal puncture. To the best of the authors' knowledge, there has been only two reports of spontaneous concomitant intracranial and spinal subdural hematomas in a patient receiving anticoagulant therapy who had an absence of evident trauma history. We report on a case of spontaneous concomitant intracranial and spinal subdural hematomas that occurred in association with anticoagulant therapy and present a review of the relevant literature.
Cranial; Spinal; Subdural hematoma; Anticoagulant therapy
Penetrating injuries to the upper cervical spine resulting from gunshots are rare in South Korea due to restrictions of gun use. Moreover, gunshot wounds to the upper cervical spine without neurological deficits occur infrequently because of the anatomic location and surrounding essential structures. We present an uncommon case involving the surgical removal of a bullet located in the anterior arch of first cervical vertebra (C1) via a transoral approach without neurological complications or subsequent mechanical instability.
Gunshot injury; Atlas
Although decompressive craniectomy is an effective treatment for various situations of increased intracranial pressure, it may be accompanied by several complications. Paradoxical herniation is known as a rare complication of lumbar puncture in patients with decompressive craniectomy. A 38-year-old man underwent decompressive craniectomy for severe brain swelling. He remained neurologically stable for five weeks, but then showed mental deterioration right after a lumbar puncture which was performed to rule out meningitis. A brain computed tomographic scan revealed a marked midline shift. The patient responded to the Trendelenburg position and intravenous fluids, and he achieved full neurologic recovery after successive cranioplasty. The authors discuss the possible mechanism of this rare case with a review of the literature.
Paradoxical herniation; Decompressive craniectomy; Lumbar puncture; Cranioplasty
Injury to the vertebral artery during anterior cervical discectomy is rare but potentially fatal. We report a case of cerebellar infarction after endovascular embolization for iatrogenic vertebral artery injury at C5-C6 during an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. A 61-year-old man had an intraoperative injury of the right vertebral artery that occurred during anterior cervical discectomy and fusion at C5-C6. Hemorrhage was not controlled successfully by packing with surgical hemostatic agents. While the patient was still intubated, an emergency angiogram was performed. The patient underwent endovascular occlusion of the right V2 segment with coils. After the procedure, his course was uneventful and he did not show any neurologic deficits. Brain computed tomographic scans taken 3 days after the operation revealed a right cerebellar infarction. Anti-coagulation medication was administered, and at 3-month follow-up examination, he had no neurologic sequelae in spite of the cerebellar infarction.
Cervical discectomy; Vertebral artery injury; Endovascular occlusion; Cerebellar infarction
There are technical limitations of multi-level posterior pedicle screw fixation performed by the percutaneous technique. The purpose of this study was to describe the surgical technique and outcome of minimally invasive multi-level posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and to determine its efficacy.
Forty-two patients who underwent mini-open PLIF using the percutaneous screw fixation system were studied. The mean age of the patients was 59.1 (range, 23 to 78 years). Two levels were involved in 32 cases and three levels in 10 cases. The clinical outcome was assessed using the visual analog scale (VAS) and Low Back Outcome Score (LBOS). Achievement of radiological fusion, intra-operative blood loss, the midline surgical scar and procedure related complications were also analyzed.
The mean follow-up period was 25.3 months. The mean LBOS prior to surgery was 34.5, which was improved to 49.1 at the final follow up. The mean pain score (VAS) prior to surgery was 7.5 and it was decreased to 2.9 at the last follow up. The mean estimated blood loss was 238 mL (140-350) for the two level procedures and 387 mL (278-458) for three levels. The midline surgical scar was 6.27 cm for two levels and 8.25 cm for three level procedures. Complications included two cases of asymptomatic medial penetration of the pedicle border. However, there were no signs of neurological deterioration or fusion failure.
Multi-level, minimally invasive PLIF can be performed effectively using the percutaneous transpedicular screw fixation system. It can be an alternative to the traditional open procedures.
Posterior lumbar interbody fusion; Percutaneous; Minimally invasive surgery
Peripheral neuropathy is characterized by hyperalgesia, spontaneous burning pain, and allodynia. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of rolipram, a phosphodiesterase-4-specific inhibitor, in a segmental spinal nerve ligation model in rats.
Both the L5 and L6 spinal nerves of the left side of the rats were ligated. Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor (rolipram) and saline (vehicle) were administered intraperitoneally. We measured mechanical allodynia using von Frey filaments and a nerve conduction study.
The mechanical allodynia, which began to manifest on the first day, peaked within 2 days. Multiple intraperitoneal injections of rolipram ameliorated the mechanical allodynia. Furthermore, an intraperitoneal administration of rolipram improved the development of pain behavior and nerve conduction velocity.
This study suggests that the phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor, rolipram, alleviates mechanical allodynia induced by segmental spinal nerve ligation in rats. This finding may have clinical implications.
Peripheral nerve injury; Allodynia; Rolipram
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is frequently associated with inflammatory lesions of the spine and continuous fatigue stress fractures; however, an association with an intraspinal synovial cyst has not been previously reported. A 55-year-old man with a five year history of AS who presented with back pain and a right radiculopathy was admitted to the hospital. Five years previously, he underwent a percutaneous vertebroplasty for an osteoporotic L1 compression fracture, and was diagnosed with AS at that time. Plain radiographs showed aggravated kyphosis and a stress fracture through the ossified posterior element, below the prior vertebroplasty. Magnetic resonance images revealed a right foraminal cystic lesion at the L2-L3 level with effacement of the nerve root. A 1.6 cm cystic lesion that appeared to arise from the L2-L3 facet joint without direct communication was excised from the L2-L3 foramen. Pathological examination confirmed synovial cyst. The patient's symptoms resolved immediately after surgery except for a mild dysesthesia of the right leg. We report herein a rare case of foraminal synovial cyst associated with AS accompanying posterior element fracture with a review of literature.
Synovial cyst; Ankylosing spondylitis
A foraminal gas pseudocyst is a rare cause of lumbar radiculopathy. The association with a sudden foot drop has not been previously reported. Here, a 67-year-old woman with sudden foot drop on the left side is reported. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging identified a foraminal gas containing lesion compressing the left L5 root at the L5-S1 foramen. The foraminal gas containing lesion compressing the L5 ganglion was successfully removed by the posterior approach. The histological diagnosis was a gas pseudocyst. This unique case of surgically proven gas pseudocyst indicates that it should be included in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with sudden foot drop.
Gas pseudocyst; Foramen; Foot drop