Cerebral infarction due to malposition of cervical pedicle screw: A case report

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Abstract

Rationale:

Malposition of cervical pedicle screw (CPS) has a risk of vertebral artery (VA) injury which sometimes may cause unexpected and catastrophic outcome. A rare case of delayed onset of cerebral infarction caused by malposition of CPS was reported.

Patient concerns:

A 23-year-old man who underwent a posterior cervical reduction and fusion of C4–5 using CPS fixation and allograft for cervical spine injury is presented. The patient suffered progressively weakness and numbness for both of upper and lower extremities 1 day after the operation. Computed tomography scans revealed bilateral occupation of the pedicle screws in the foramen of C4 and C5 and the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) displayed several areas of infarction in the brainstem and cerebellum.

Diagnoses:

Plain radiographs of the cervical spine revealed the C4 vertebral body and MRI displayed a disruption of the anterior longitudinal ligament on the level of C4–5 and severe injury to the soft tissues of the cervical spine at admission. Brainstem and cerebellum infarction was diagnosed at postoperative.

Intervention:

A revision surgery was decided to remove all of the pedicle screws and place lateral mass screws instead.

Outcomes:

The patient felt better on his all of 4 extremities following revision surgery. Fortunately, he was neurologically close to normal at a 3-month follow-up.

Lessons:

Delayed onset of cerebral infarction is rarely reported complication caused by malposition of CPS. When a CPS perforates the transverse foramen and causes symptom of cerebral infarction, a revision surgery in time is strongly recommended to prevent further sequelae.

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