3 years ago

Delayed post-operative tension pneumocephalus and pneumorrhachis

Abstract

Introduction

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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

DOI: 10.1007/s00586-017-5268-3

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