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Intradural non-calcified thoracic disc herniation causing spontaneous intracranial hypotension: a case report

Michael Fiechter, Alexander Ott, Jürgen Beck, Astrid Weyerbrock & Jean-Yves Fournier

abstract

BACKGROUND
Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is a rare pathology caused by a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak. If intractable by conventional methods (i.e. bedrest, analgesics, or epidural blood patching) it may lead to the inability of the patient to cope with daily life and eventually to life-threatening complications. Recently, calcified discogenic microspurs or dorsal osteophytes were identified as a major cause for ventral CSF loss through vertical longitudinal dural slits. We report a rare case of intractable SIH due to an intradural disc herniation at the thoracolumbar junction (without signs of calcification) and its management.

CASE PRESENTATION
A 46-year old woman suffered from orthostatic headache (sudden onset, no history of trauma) due to intractable SIH for over 2 month (without neurologic deficits). There was no clinical amelioration by conservative measures (analgesics, bedrest) and serial unspecific epidural blood patches (repeated for 3 times). She was diagnosed with an intradural disc herniation at the thoracolumbar junction causing a CSF leak. Surgical exploration by a translaminar and transdural approach with removal of the disc herniation and closure of the CSF leak was performed with immediate cessation of orthostatic symptoms. Histological workup revealed non-calcified intervertebral disc material. After 3 months of follow-up and no evidence for clinical relapse the patient returned to work.

CONCLUSIONS
We report the rare phenomenon of an intradural non-calcified disc sequester at the thoracolumbar junction as the cause of a ventral dural tear leading to a CSF leak with intractable SIH. This is of particular interest as the major cause of ventral dural leakage is thought to arise from calcified discogenic microspurs or dorsal osteophytes. Furthermore, we comprehensively describe a short and reasonable diagnostic and surgical approach of this rare pathology, which may particularly be of use in daily clinical routine in neurological wards and general surgical spine centers not facing such pathologies on a regular basis.
   
citation Fiechter M, Ott A, Beck J, Weyerbrock A, Fournier J Y. Intradural non-calcified thoracic disc herniation causing spontaneous intracranial hypotension: a case report. BMC Surg 2019; 19:66.
   
type journal paper/review (English)
date of publishing 21-6-2019
journal title BMC Surg (19/1)
ISSN electronic 1471-2482
pages 66
PubMed 31226967
DOI 10.1186/s12893-019-0527-3
contact Astrid Weyerbrock