Epidural hematoma after epidural block: implications for its use in pain management

Surg Neurol. 2002 Apr;57(4):235-40. doi: 10.1016/s0090-3019(02)00639-0.


Background: Spinal epidural hematoma after spinal puncture such as for injection of steroids for pain management may result in a rare complication of a spinal epidural hematoma causing acute myelopathy. Although this complication is well known with epidural anesthesia, where it is usually seen with impaired hemostasis, there are surprisingly few case reports of epidural hematoma after an epidural steroid block.

Case description: A healthy 34-year-old man with no evidence of coagulopathy and not taking antiplatelet medication suddenly had onset of acute cervical myelopathy from a large cervical epidural hematoma 8 days after a cervical epidural steroid block. Following prompt surgical evacuation of the clot, the patient made a near complete recovery.

Conclusion: Spinal epidural hematoma after spinal puncture is usually associated with impaired hemostasis. This case illustrates that it may occur in the absence of known risk factors. The delayed onset and the absence of risk factors have implications for the use of this procedure in chronic pain management.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesia, Epidural / adverse effects*
  • Brown-Sequard Syndrome / etiology
  • Cervical Vertebrae*
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Cranial / diagnostic imaging
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Cranial / etiology*
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Cranial / surgery
  • Humans
  • Injections, Epidural / adverse effects
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Neck Pain / drug therapy*
  • Spinal Cord Compression / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Cord Compression / etiology*
  • Spinal Cord Compression / surgery
  • Steroids / administration & dosage*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Steroids