Late Cervical Spinal Cord Herniation Resulting from Post-Traumatic Brachial Plexus Avulsion Injury.

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World Neurosurg


BACKGROUND: Spinal cord herniation (SCH) is often described as occurring spontaneously in the thoracic spine, with few cases of cervical SCH reported as a late complication of traumatic brachial plexus avulsion. We present 2 cases of nerve root avulsion and pseudomeningocele formation, resulting in delayed cervical SCH and neurologic deterioration.

CASE DESCRIPTION: Case 1: A 37-year old man presented with progressive leg weakness 2 years after experiencing traumatic C8 and T1 root avulsions. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed previously documented C8-T1 nerve avulsions with new SCH in a T1 pseudomeningocele. A C7-T1 costotransversectomy and C4-T4 instrumented fusion were completed, allowing SCH reduction and patch graft repair of the dural defects without the need for adhesiolysis. At last follow-up, the patient's leg weakness had resolved. Case 2: A 32-year old man presented with progressive right arm numbness, weakness, and signs of myelopathy 9 years after experiencing C8 and T1 root avulsions. MRI showed previously documented root avulsions and new SCH with extensive and compressive pseudomeningocele formation. A C7 transpedicular approach with C5-T1 instrumented fusion was completed for dural repair. A large pseudomeningocele was found and drained on drilling the C7 pedicle, and adhesiolysis was required at the spinal cord avulsion site to reduce the SCH and allow patch graft repair. At last follow-up, the patient's right arm weakness was improving, although numbness persisted.

CONCLUSIONS: SCH is a rare cause of delayed neurologic deterioration after brachial plexus avulsion, with few case reports describing its occurrence. We present 2 cases of this complication and describe its successful surgical treatment through dural repair after instrumented fusion.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)