Delayed post-operative tension pneumocephalus and pneumorrhachis
The incidence of pneumocephalus and pneumorrhachis after spinal surgery is unknown, with a paucity of literature on this complication.
Materials and methods
We present the first published case of delayed onset tension pneumocephalus and pneumorrhachis associated with spinal surgery.
This complication occurred from a cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) leak after posterior instrumentation removal and was successfully treated with emergent wound debridement and the formation of a CSF fistula.
This case illustrates that delayed post-operative tension pneumocephalus and pneumorrhachis can occur after spinal surgery in a patient with a CSF leak. It also illustrates that pneumocephalus and pneumorrhachis can be easily diagnosed with cross-sectional CT imaging. Furthermore, in a patient with rapid deterioration emergent surgical debridement may be necessary. Lastly, if the dural tear cannot be identified intra-operatively, the formalization of a CSF fistula should be considered.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00586-017-5268-3
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