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Open access

Incidental durotomy resulting in a postoperative lumbosacral nerve root with eventration into the adjacent facet joint: illustrative cases

Michael J Kelly, Franziska C. S Altorfer, Marco D Burkhard, Russel C Huang, Frank P Cammisa Jr., and J. Levi Chazen

BACKGROUND

Radicular pain after lumbar decompression surgery can result from epidural hematoma/seroma, recurrent disc herniation, incomplete decompression, or other rare complications. A less recognized complication is postoperative nerve root herniation, resulting from an initially unrecognized intraoperative or, more commonly, a spontaneous postoperative durotomy. Rarely, this nerve root herniation can become entrapped within local structures, including the facet joint. The aim of this study was to illustrate our experience with three cases of lumbosacral nerve root eventration into an adjacent facet joint and to describe our diagnostic and surgical approach to this rare complication.

OBSERVATIONS

Three patients who had undergone lumbar decompression surgery with or without fusion experienced postoperative radiculopathy. Exploratory revision surgery revealed all three had a durotomy with nerve root eventration into the facet joint. Significant symptom improvement was achieved in all patients following liberation of the neural elements from the facet joints.

LESSONS

Entrapment of herniated nerve roots into the facet joint may be a previously underappreciated complication and remains quite challenging to diagnose even with the highest-quality advanced imaging. Thus, clinicians must have a high index of suspicion to diagnose this issue and a low threshold for surgical exploration.

Open access

Metastatic intradural primary spinal osteosarcoma: illustrative case

Shreyas Thiruvengadam, Mark Lam, and Stephen Honeybul

BACKGROUND

Osteosarcomas are a common primary bone neoplasm among adolescents but represent 0.2% of all malignancies with an incidence of two to four cases per million persons annually worldwide. Although known to have significant metastatic potential, its rare incidence, treatment resistance, and poor prognosis have rendered it a poorly understood and infrequently documented pathology.

OBSERVATIONS

Herein the authors present the first documented case of lumbosacral intradural metastasis of a primary osteosarcoma in a young patient, possibly via intradural dissemination following pinhole durotomy in a prior thoracic surgery.

LESSONS

Osteosarcomas remain a difficult pathology to treat, particularly upon metastatic dissemination. The utility of adjuvant radiotherapy after resection of an osteosarcoma is increasingly evident in the reduction of local recurrence. In the context of intraoperative pinhole durotomies in resections of high-grade lesions, due consideration should be given to whole-spine radiation, although this remains an evidence-free zone.

Open access

Mycobacterium xenopi vertebral osteomyelitis in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus: illustrative case

Ryan Kelly, Josha Woodward, Jacob B Gerzenshtein, Mariam Aziz, and John E O’Toole

BACKGROUND

Mycobacterium xenopi is a common nontuberculous Mycobacterium (NTM) that is slow growing and an infrequent cause of infection. When infections do occur, it is by exposure to contaminated soil or water or to infectious aerosols. Nontuberculous mycobacterial infections in the spine are exceedingly rare. Risk factors can include immunosuppression, particularly human immunodeficiency virus; however, other systemic diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have been reported.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report a case of cord compression due to M. xenopi vertebral osteomyelitis with an epidural abscess in a patient with SLE on hydroxychloroquine and recent steroid use. The authors explore the presentation of a patient who developed acute neurological deficits concerning for spinal pathology secondary to NTM. Although considered a rare occurrence, patients with autoimmune pathologies are susceptible to infection by unusual organisms. Standard treatment of autoimmune diseases can predispose patients to infection and warrant surgical correction to prevent long-term neurological deficits.

LESSONS

There is still much work and research to be done in the exploration and understanding of nontuberculous mycobacterial infection, pathophysiology, and treatment in the immunocompetent population and in patients with autoimmune disorders.

Open access

Oblique anterior column realignment with a mini-open posterior column osteotomy for minimally invasive adult spinal deformity correction: illustrative case

Zach Pennington, Nolan J Brown, Seyedamirhossein Pishva, Hernán F. J González, and Martin H Pham

BACKGROUND

Adult spinal deformity (ASD) occurs from progressive anterior column collapse due to disc space desiccation, compression fractures, and autofusion across disc spaces. Anterior column realignment (ACR) is increasingly recognized as a powerful tool to address ASD by progressively lengthening the anterior column through the release of the anterior longitudinal ligament during lateral interbody approaches. Here, we describe the application of minimally invasive ACR through an oblique antepsoas corridor for deformity correction in a patient with adult degenerative scoliosis and significant sagittal imbalance.

OBSERVATIONS

A 65-year-old female with a prior history of L4–5 transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion and morbid obesity presented with refractory, severe low-back and lower-extremity pain. Preoperative radiographs showed significant sagittal imbalance. Computed tomography showed a healed L4–5 fusion and a vacuum disc at L3–4 and L5–S1, whereas magnetic resonance imaging was notable for central canal stenosis at L3–4. The patient was treated with a first-stage L5–S1 lateral anterior lumbar interbody fusion with oblique L2–4 ACR. The second-stage posterior approach consisted of a robot-guided minimally invasive T10–ilium posterior instrumented fusion with a mini-open L2–4 posterior column osteotomy (PCO). Postoperative radiographs showed the restoration of her sagittal balance. There were no complications.

LESSONS

Oblique ACR is a powerful minimally invasive tool for sagittal plane correction. When combined with a mini-open PCO, substantial segmental lordosis can be achieved while eliminating the need for multilevel PCO or invasive three-column osteotomies.

Open access

Misplaced intraspinal venous stent causing cauda equina syndrome: illustrative case

Vaibhavi Shah, Thomas Johnstone, Ghani Haider, Neelan J Marianayagam, Martin N Stienen, Venita Chandra, and Anand Veeravagu

BACKGROUND

Endovenous stents for deep venous thrombosis treatment can be unintentionally placed in the spinal canal, resulting in neurological deficit.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report the case of a patient presenting to our institution with intraspinal misplacement of an endovenous stent, resulting in cauda equina syndrome. The authors also performed a systematic literature review, evaluating the few previously reported cases. This review was performed according to the updated Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. In four of five cases describing stent misplacement into the spinal canal, the authors report that only anteroposterior monoplanar imaging modalities were utilized for venous localization and stent deployment. The anteroposterior plane cannot assess the relative depth of structures, nor can it distinguish between superimposed structures well. Therefore, the use of biplanar imaging should at least be considered before stent deployment, as intraspinal stent placement can lead to disastrous consequences.

LESSONS

This report should serve as an impetus for the use of biplanar or three-dimensional imaging modalities for iliac venous stent placement. Additionally, this work should increase spine surgeons’ awareness about management and operative techniques when faced with this complication.

Open access

The complex treatment paradigms for concomitant tethered cord and scoliosis: illustrative case

Rose Fluss, Riana Lo Bu, Andrew J Kobets, and Jaime A Gomez

BACKGROUND

Scoliosis associated with tethered cord syndrome is one of the most challenging spinal deformities to manage. Multiple surgical approaches have been developed, including traditional staged and concomitant procedures, spine-shortening osteotomies, and individual vertebral column resections.

OBSERVATIONS

A 10-year-old female presented with congenital kyphoscoliosis with worsening curve progression, tethered spinal cord, and a history of enuresis. The scoliosis had progressed to a 26° coronal curve and 55° thoracolumbar kyphosis. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging of the spine revealed a tethered cord between the levels of L3–4 and a large kyphotic deformity at L1. The patient underwent laminectomy, during which intraoperative motor signals were lost. A planned hemivertebrectomy at L1 was performed prior to an L4 laminectomy, untethering of the filum terminale, and posterior spinal fusion from T11 to L2. After surgery, the patient experienced transient lower-extremity weakness, with her neurological function improving from baseline over the next 2 months. Ultimately, the goal of this surgery was to halt the progressive decline in motor function, which was successfully achieved.

LESSONS

Much remains to be learned about the treatment of this complicated disease, especially in the setting of concomitant scoliosis. This case serves to exemplify the complex treatment paradigms that exist when attempting to manage this clinical syndrome and that more remains to be learned.

Open access

A new surgical method to treat intracanal lumbar disc herniation using the unilateral biportal endoscopic transforaminal approach: patient series

Tomohide Segawa, Hiroki Iwai, Hirohiko Inanami, Yuichi Takano, Yohei Yuzawa, Takeshi Kaneko, Kenta Taniguchi, Kazuyoshi Yanagisawa, Junichi Yokosuka, Ryoji Tominaga, Hideki Nakamoto, Katsuyuki Sasaki, and Hisashi Koga

BACKGROUND

Unilateral biportal endoscopic lumbar discectomy (UBELD) is a new minimally invasive spine surgery. The purpose of this study is to describe a new surgical method to treat intracanal lumbar disc herniation (LDH) using the unilateral biportal endoscopic transforaminal approach (UBE-TFA). The first 15 patients who had undergone UBELD for single-level LDH were included in this study. Operative time, intraoperative blood loss, postoperative stay, and intraoperative complications were recorded. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), numeric rating scale (NRS) score for leg pain, and modified MacNab criteria were assessed at 3 months postoperatively.

OBSERVATIONS

The mean operative time was 52.0 ± 13.8 minutes. The mean intraoperative blood loss was 10.5 ± 10.2 mL. The mean postoperative stay was 1.1 ± 0.3 days. There were no complications. The postoperative mean ODI was significantly improved from 44.9 ± 14.4 to 7.7 ± 11.2 at the final follow-up (p < 0.001). There was a significant decrease in the postoperative mean NRS score for leg pain, from 6.1 ± 1.9 to 0.8 ± 1.3 at the final follow-up (p < 0.001). Based on the modified MacNab criteria, good to excellent results were obtained in 86.7% of the patients.

LESSONS

We considered UBELD-TFA as not only one of the promising surgical methods for UBELD, but also a new surgical implementation of the TFA.

Open access

Primary intradural extraosseous Ewing’s sarcoma of the L3 nerve root: illustrative case

John D Arena, Saurabh Sinha, Connor Wathen, Yohannes Ghenbot, Paul J Zhang, and William C Welch

BACKGROUND

Ewing’s sarcoma is an uncommon, aggressive malignancy that typically presents as an osseous lesion, most commonly in children and adolescents. Very rarely Ewing’s sarcoma can present as an intradural extramedullary mass mimicking more common tumors.

OBSERVATIONS

A 32-year-old female had a left L3 nerve root–associated lesion identified in the setting of recent-onset radiculopathy. Contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine was favored to demonstrate a schwannoma or neurofibroma. Hemilaminectomy, facetectomy, and resection of the mass led to improved radiculopathy and a tissue diagnosis of Ewing’s sarcoma. Immediate referral to medical oncology facilitated expeditious initiation of adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation.

LESSONS

The differential diagnosis for newly identified nerve root–associated tumors should remain broad, including common benign pathologies and rare malignant entities. Tissue remains the gold standard for diagnosis, as preoperative imaging suggested a nerve sheath tumor. Malignant pathologies such as Ewing’s sarcoma must be considered, especially in the setting of rapidly progressive symptoms or interval growth on serial imaging. Early diagnosis allows for the timely initiation of comprehensive oncological care. Long-term multidisciplinary follow-up is necessary for the surveillance of disease progression.

Open access

Management of migrating spinal schwannomas: a surgeon’s dilemma. Illustrative case

Sejal Kakkar, M. Kodeeswaran, K. P. Priyadharshan, Arun Narindar, Arvind Kumar Tyagi, Mayukh Kamal Goswami, Gianluca Scalia, Giuseppe Emmanuele Umana, and Bipin Chaurasia

BACKGROUND

A migrating spinal tumor is a rare phenomenon in the medical literature. Efficient management of these tumors is critical to avoid extended laminectomies.

OBSERVATIONS

In this article, the authors present the case of a patient with a migrating lumbar schwannoma. They summarize a literature review of similar cases, highlighting the intraoperative challenges faced, and provide management guidelines for similar cases from their experience.

LESSONS

Surgeons dealing with spinal intradural extramedullary lesions should always consider the possibility of tumor migration. Routine preoperative counseling regarding potential tumor migration and its efficient management is essential, as it reduces the risk of unplanned extensive laminectomy or durotomy, minimizing morbidity and medicolegal concerns and enhancing patient care.

Open access

Foraminal stenosis and radiculopathy secondary to tophaceous gout: illustrative case

Patrick Chang, Brandon C Rogowski, Khaled Abdel Aziz, Rosh Bharthi, Lance Valls, Nathan Esplin, and Richard W Williamson

BACKGROUND

Tophaceous gout is a severe form of gout that results in the formation of large nodules, or tophi, in the affected joints and surrounding tissues. Gouty tophi in the spine have a constellation of presentations that often mimic other pathologies and may not be easily discernable from more common pathologic processes.

OBSERVATIONS

A 47-year-old female with a history of chronic renal disease, obesity, gout, inflammatory polyarthritis, and multiple sclerosis presented with 6 months of low-back pain and lumbar radiculopathy affecting the right lower extremity. A lumbar magnetic resonance imaging study revealed right foraminal stenosis and spondylolisthesis at levels L4–5. An intraspinal extradural mass was noted adjacent to the traversing right L5 and exiting right L4 nerve roots. A bilateral decompressive laminectomy, facetectomy, and foraminotomy of L4–5 was performed. A calcific, chalky-white mass was discovered in the foramen, and pathology determined the specimen to be a gout tophus. Postoperatively, the patient endorsed the resolution of her preoperative symptoms, which have not returned on follow-up.

LESSONS

Reports of gouty depositions compressing the spinal cord in the current literature are relatively rare. Although the diagnosis of gouty tophi can only be confirmed histologically, patient history may serve as a helpful diagnostic tool.