Surgical removal of epidural and intradural polymethylmethacrylate extravasation complicating percutaneous vertebroplasty for an osteoporotic lumbar compression fracture: Case report

Scott Shapiro, Todd Abel, Scott Purvine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

91 Scopus citations


The authors report the case of patient with a lumbar vertebral body osteoporotic compression fracture who underwent percutaneous transpedicular polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)-assisted vertebroplasty in whom extravasation of the cement into the spinal canal caused immediate neurological deterioration. Lateral lumbar radiography and computerized tomography scanning demonstrated the presence of intraspinal PMMA. The patient suffered severe low-back pain, left-sided sciatica, and profound left L2-4 distribution weakness and numbness. She underwent immediate L-2 laminectomy, the extra- and intradural PMMA was removed, and instrumentation-assisted lateral mass fusion was performed. The patient recovered without incident and her neurological deficit improved. Extravasation of cement into the spinal canal, neural foramen, paraspinal veins, or disc space has been reported in 11 to 73% of percutaneous transpedicular PMMA-assisted vertebroplasty procedures. It is disturbing that more than one group of authors has documented symptomatic spinal canal PMMA extravasation and that the patients were left severely handicapped because of a stated fear that surgery to remove the cement would be difficult and make them worse. The results achieved in this case refute that published notion. It is important to document that decompressive surgery and PMMA removal from the spinal canal are easy and can lead to immediate neurological improvement. With the increasing popularity of percutaneous transpedicular PMMA-assisted vertebroplasty, the authors suspect that more of these cases will be seen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-92
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003



  • Lumbar compression fracture
  • Methylmethacrylate
  • Osteoporosis
  • Vertebroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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