Cerebellar hemorrhage after spinal surgery: report of two cases and literature review

Neurosurgery. 2002 Jun;50(6):1361-3; discussion 1363-4. doi: 10.1097/00006123-200206000-00030.


Objective and importance: Cerebellar hemorrhage remote from the site of surgery may complicate neurosurgical procedures. We describe our experience with two cases of cerebellar hemorrhage after spinal surgery and review the three cases previously reported in the literature to determine whether these cases provide insight regarding the pathogenesis of remote cerebellar hemorrhage.

Clinical presentation: One of our patients developed cerebellar hemorrhage in the vermis and right hemisphere after transpedicular removal of a partially intradural T9-T10 herniated disc with the patient in the prone position. The other patient developed cerebellar hemorrhage in the vermis and bilateral hemispheres after L3-S1 decompression and instrumentation with the patient in the prone position, during which the dura was inadvertently opened.

Intervention: The first patient was treated conservatively and had mild residual dysarthria and gait ataxia 2 months after surgery. The second patient underwent exploration and revision of the lumbar wound with primary dural repair. The cerebellar hemorrhage was treated conservatively, and the patient had mild dysarthria and ataxia 1 month after surgery.

Conclusion: Cerebellar hemorrhage must be considered in patients with unexplained neurological deterioration after spinal surgery. Dural opening with loss of cerebrospinal fluid has occurred in every reported case of cerebellar hemorrhage complicating a spinal procedure, supporting the hypothesis that loss of cerebrospinal fluid is central to the pathogenesis of this condition. Because remote cerebellar hemorrhage can occur after procedures with the patient in the supine, sitting, and prone positions, patient positioning seems unlikely to play a causative role in its occurrence.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebellar Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cerebellar Diseases / etiology*
  • Cerebellar Diseases / therapy
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / therapy
  • Decompression, Surgical / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / surgery
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Reoperation
  • Spine / surgery*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed