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Epidural Pneumorrhachis Causing Intraoperative Loss of Motor Potentials During Instrumented Fusion for Scoliosis

A Case Report

Bhat, Suneel B., MD, MPhil1,2; Blumer, Steven, MD3; Shah, Suken A., MD2,3,a

doi: 10.2106/JBJS.CC.16.00191
Case Reports

Case: In a patient who underwent a thoracoscopic anterior release combined with a posterior spinal fusion for juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, unilateral loss of neuromonitoring signals was noted during the posterior instrumentation, and epidural pneumorrhachis was identified by intraoperative O-arm imaging. An immediate laminectomy and decompression of epidural fat and air were performed, resulting in return of the neuromonitoring signals. The patient had no clinical motor or neurological deficits postoperatively, and the posterior spinal fusion was completed successfully 3 days later.

Conclusion: Epidural pneumorrhachis is a possible complication of scoliosis surgery with pedicle screw fixation, which can result in the intraoperative loss of neuromonitoring signals; however, rapid identification and intervention can result in an excellent outcome.

1Rothman Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

3Department of Orthopaedics, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Delaware

aE-mail address for S.A. Shah:

Copyright © 2017 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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