Temporary paraplegia resulting from venous air embolism following lumbar disc surgery
CitationKotil, K. (2016). Temporary paraplegia resulting from venous air embolism following lumbar disc surgery. Journal of Neurological Sciences. 33. 2, 378-382.
A spinal cord ischemic injury defined by acute transient paraplegia, following lumbar disk surgery was not reported in the literature. A lumbar MRI was performed to a 60 years old obese and short female patient due to low back and leg pain. An acute disk extrusion was found at the L4-5 absolute spinal stenosis background. The patient had lumbar disc surgery at the prone position. The patient woke up with paralysis in both extremities under T10 level postoperatively. The MRI showed air bubbles in the spinal canal, originating from the giant venous dural lacs. After 6-8 hours with medical treatment, the patient completely regained the sensory first, then the motor function. Since the fast recovery in the early period and the air seen on MRI, the other reasons such as fibro cartilaginous embolism at the spinal cord level were excluded, and the etiology was thought to be the venous air embolism. This is the first case in the literature with paraplegia due to acute spinal ischemia, which is thought to happen due to venous air embolism during the lumbar decompression surgery.