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Iatrogenic spondylodiscitis

Case report and review of literature

Erol Taºdemirođlu, Ahmet Sengöz and Erdem Bagatur

Iatrogenic intervertebral disc space infection is encountered following microsurgical discectomy, percutaneous laser disc decompression, automated percutaneous lumbar nucleotomy operations, and discography. The purpose of this paper is to present a case report and review the literature on the uncommon origins of pyogenic spondylodiscitis and to emphasize the significance of prophylactic antibiotic therapy following transrectal ultrasonography-guided needle biopsy of the prostate (TUGNBP). According to the authors, this is the first reported case of pyogenic spondylodiscitis as a complication of TUGNBP in the English language literature.

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Ahmet Şengöz, Erol Taşdemiroğlu and Halit Togay

✓The authors present a case of clear cell sarcoma (CCS) in which the tumor originated in the S-1 nerve root and had been previously diagnosed as psammomatous melanotic schwannoma (PMS). This is the third case of a spinal nerve root origin for CCS reported in the English-language literature. The similar histogenesis of CCS and malignant melanoma supports the hypothesis that biological agents or immunotherapy are potentially important areas of investigation.

The patient underwent S1–3 laminectomy and gross-total resection of the mass lesion. The border of the resection was extended 1 cm distal to the tumor margin. The postoperative period was uneventful. The new histopathological diagnosis was CCS (malignant melanoma of soft tissue). Despite total resection, the patient returned with disseminated disease at the 18-month follow-up visit. His follow-up magnetic resonance image of the lumbar spine revealed sacral L5–S3 involvement of the vertebral bodies along with disseminated cauda equina seeding.

A CCS originating from peripheral nerves is quite rare. The histopathological and immunohistochemical appearance of CCSs resembles those of PMSs. Surgery should be the first choice of treatment.

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Ahmet Sengoz, Kadir Kotil and Erol Tasdemiroglu


Posterior epidural migration of a free disc fragment in the lumbar region is a very rare condition that has only been reported in isolated cases to date. Patients with this condition present with radiculopathy or major neurological deficits. Difficulties in diagnosis and the choice and timing of surgical treatment are important in these cases. In this clinical case series, features of cases with posterior epidural migration of free lumbar disc fragments accompanied by cauda equina syndrome are discussed.


Eight cases (0.27%) of posterior epidural migration of disc fragments were detected among 2880 patients surgically treated for lumbar disc herniation between 1995 and 2008. Seven of these patients had cauda equina syndrome. The mean duration of symptoms in the 8 cases was 4.2 days (range 1–10 days). The group included 6 men and 2 women, with a mean age of 48 years (range 34–72 years). The sequestered disc fragments were at the L3–4 level in 6 patients (75%) and the L4–5 level in 2 (25%). Magnetic resonance imaging showed tumor-like ring contrast enhancement around sequestered fragments in 5 patients. The patients' motor, sensory, sexual, and urological functions were evaluated postoperatively, and modified Odom criteria and a visual analog scale were used in the assessment of postoperative outcomes.


A microsurgical approach was used in all cases. Sequestrectomy with minimal hemilaminotomy and removal of the free segments were performed. The patients were followed up for a mean period of 28.5 months. Three patients (37.5%) had excellent results, 3 (37.5%) had good results, 1 patient (12.5%) had fair results, and only 1 patient had poor results according to the Odom criteria. The main factors affecting the long-term outcomes were the presence of cauda equina syndrome and the time period between onset of symptoms and surgery.


Patients with posterior migration of a disc fragment present with severe neurological deficits such as cauda equina syndrome. Because the radiological images of disc fragments may mimic those of other more common posterior epidural space–occupying lesions, definite diagnosis of posteriorly located disc fragments is difficult. All of these lesions can be completely removed with hemilaminotomy and sequestrectomy, and early surgical treatment is important as a first choice to prevent severe neurological deficits.