There is a paucity of literature describing the management of recurrent symptomatic postoperative epidural hematoma or uncontrollable intraoperative hemorrhage in posterior spine surgery. Traditional management with hematoma evacuation and wound closure over suction drains may not be effective in certain cases, and it can lead to recurrence and neurological injury. The authors report 3 cases of recurrent symptomatic postoperative epidural hematoma successfully managed with novel open-wound negative-pressure dressing therapy (NPDT), as well as 1 case of uncontrollable intraoperative hemorrhage that was primarily managed with the same technique.
The 3 patients who developed a postoperative epidural hematoma became symptomatic 2–17 days after the initial operation. All 3 patients underwent at least 1 hematoma evacuation and wound closure over suction drains prior to recurrence with severe neurological deficit and definitive management with NPDT. One patient was managed primarily with NPDT for uncontrollable intraoperative hemorrhage during posterior cervical laminectomy.
All 4 patients had significant risk factors for postoperative epidural hematoma. NPDT for 3–9 days with delayed wound closure was successful in all patients. The 3 patients with recurrent symptomatic postoperative epidural hematoma had significant improvement in their severe neurological deficit. None of the patients developed a postoperative wound infection, and none of the patients required transfusion due to NPDT.
NPDT with delayed wound closure may be an option in certain patients, when wound closure over suction drains is unlikely to prevent further neurological injury.