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Transient Neurologic Syndrome: A Benign but Confusing Clinical Problem

Harned, Michael E. MD; Dority, Jeremy MD; Hatton, Kevin W. MD

doi: 10.1097/TME.0b013e3182251524

Spinal anesthesia has been a safe and popular anesthetic option for patients undergoing outpatient surgical procedures of the trunk and lower extremities. Occasionally, after a spinal anesthetic, patients can develop moderate-to-severe pain in the back, hips, and legs without neurologic deficit. They will often present to the emergency department with complaints of pain and require an extensive diagnostic workup to rule out other more ominous possibilities such as spinal hematoma, infection, or nerve injury. After a negative workup and with a history of recent spinal anesthetic the patient will be diagnosed with transient neurologic syndrome. While often causing significant distress to both the patient and health care provider, transient neurologic syndrome is a benign, self-limited entity that requires only conservative therapy and usually resolves within a couple of days without intervention.

Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology (Drs Harned and Dority), Division of Critical Care, Department of Anesthesiology (Dr Hatton), University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington.

Corresponding Author: Michael E. Harned, MD, Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, 800 Rose Street, Lexington, KY 40536 (

Disclosure: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.