Acta Ortopédica Mexicana

Rodríguez LJG, Sandoval SV, Benavides RD, Olivares CJL, Taboada BJ
Paraplegia due to adhesive arachnoiditis. A case report
Acta Ortop Mex 2009; 23 (4)

Language: Español
References: 21
Page: 232-236
PDF: 172.15 Kb.

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Various conditions of the spinal column occur at the lumbar level and new therapeutic surgical techniques have been applied to reduce the length of hospital stay, contribute to a quick return of patients to their activities of daily living, and reduce the postoperative limitations. However, a silent complication, adhesive arachnoiditis, has been reported with a frequency of 6-16% in cases undergoing lumbar surgery or with a history of revision surgery, and thus a second complication may occur, paraplegia, since the common symptom of arachnoiditis is persistent low back pain. The case of a 40-year-old patient is presented herein, who underwent lumbar spine surgery for herniated discs, and developed adhesive arachnoiditis involving the cauda equina, which was diagnosed with MRI. He had irreversible paraplegia with diffuse involvement of the cauda equina despite the mechanical lavage and surgical debridement performed due to the persistence of serous fluid discharge from the wound. The interbody implant placed during the first surgery was removed and the treatment was completed with posterior stabilization reinstrumentation; the patient had persistent neurologic impairment. There are few reports in the world literature of paraplegia due to non-infectious adhesive arachnoiditis. The remaining reports of paraplegia have been in patients with spinal infection, such as HIV-TB, mycosis, brucellosis or meningeal hemorrhage. It is not easy for patients to understand the very likely irreversible neurologic lesion of his complication. However, it is important for the spine surgeon to bear in mind the occurrence and frequency of adhesive arachnoiditis which could lead to irreversible neurologic deficit in patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery.

Key words: arachnoiditis, spine, magnetic resonance, paraplegia.