Postoperative Symptomatic Anterior Spinal Epidural Hematoma: Complete Drainage Using Corpectomy and a Bladder Catheter.


STUDY DESIGN A case report. OBJECTIVE We describe a technique to drain a thoracic and cervical postoperative epidural hematoma causing paraplegia after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA Postoperative compressive spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) is a devastating complication and early diagnosis and treatment is essential. The most commonly accepted treatment is decompression and drainage of hematoma. METHODS A 65-year-old male with a degenerative disc disease located at C4-C5, C5-C6, and C6-C7 levels with disc herniation underwent a standard anterior cervical decompression and fusion at C4-C5-C6-C7. Three hours after the procedure, the patient started complaining of progressive paraplegia and affectation of upper extremity. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed a postoperative SEH extending from C3 to T6, causing compression.To resolve this unusual complication, a new surgery was performed. An anterior approach through the previous one was performed, and a C6 corpectomy was done. The anterior epidural hematoma was drained with an elastic urinary catheter. At the end of the surgery, a tricortical iliac crest autograft was placed between C5-C7 and the plate was placed as previously. RESULTS The patient recovered tactile and vibratory senses, as well as motor function in both hands 12 hours after the second procedure. The complete drainage of the hematoma was MRI-verified the first postoperative day.The patient was discharged from the hospital presenting a complete sensitive recovery and a 3/5 of muscle recovery. At one year, the patient made a full recovery and was able to walk unassisted. CONCLUSION The treatment of choice in SEH is the early decompression as complete as possible, usually with the same approach or at the level of major compression. In rare cases like this, we recommend the use of an elastic catheter to complete hematoma drainage, distant from the surgical wound. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE N/A.

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@article{GonzlezDaz2016PostoperativeSA, title={Postoperative Symptomatic Anterior Spinal Epidural Hematoma: Complete Drainage Using Corpectomy and a Bladder Catheter.}, author={Rafael Gonz{\'a}lez-D{\'i}az and Ismael Au{\~n}{\'o}n-Mart{\'i}n and Francisco Javier Ortega-Garcia and Rui Miguel Reis da Rocha}, journal={Spine}, year={2016}, volume={41 22}, pages={E1368-E1371} }