Spinal Gout: Case Report and Review of the Literature

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Spinal involvement is considered to be a rare complication of gout. We report a case of a 48-year-old woman with chronic tophaceous gout, recently desensitized to allopurinol, who presented with an L4 radiculopathy. A magnetic resonance image (MRI) of the lumbosacral spine revealed an extradural process at L4 level. Three months before this episode, for unrelated reasons, the patient had an MRI of her entire spine, which was normal. Laminectomy was performed revealing a large gouty tophus. The fact that a large gouty tophus formed over this short a period of time causing neurologic symptoms highlights the importance of aggressive medical management of patients with longstanding tophaceous gout with urate-lowering agents. Spinal extradural gout could lead to neurologic deficits necessitating emergent surgery for decompression, exposing the patient to further risk. Every effort should be made to lower the serum uric acid level by maximizing the pharmacologic regimen and, if necessary, desensitizing the patient, like in our case, if there is a history of allergy to allopurinol.

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