Percutaneous endoscopic lumbar decompression is gaining attention as a minimally invasive surgery. Here, the authors report a rare complication of pneumocephalus caused by vacuum drain after biportal endoscopic spinal surgery (BESS) for lumbar stenosis.
A 79-year-old woman with spinal stenosis over the L4–5 level received BESS. No visible dural tear was encountered during surgery, and a vacuum drain was placed after surgery. Approximately 150 mL of cerebrospinal fluid was drained on postoperative day 1. Simultaneously, symptoms of intracranial hypotension were noted. Brain computed tomography (CT) revealed pneumocephalus. The patient was advised to have bed rest and hydration, and her symptoms improved subsequently. Follow-up brain CT indicated the resolution of pneumocephalus.
Pneumocephalus after endoscopic lumbar surgery is rare. Dural tear, high rate of normal saline irrigation, and vacuum drain placement are the associated risk factors.