Spontaneous intracranial hypotension associated with transdural thoracic osteophyte reversed by primary. dural repair. Case report

J Neurosurg Spine. 2005 May;2(5):614-8. doi: 10.3171/spi.2005.2.5.0614.


Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is an increasingly recognized syndrome associated with a specific set of clinical and imaging findings; however, determining the site of spinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage in these patients is often difficult, and indications for surgical intervention need to be better defined. The authors report on a 55-year-old woman who presented with posture-related headache, disorientation, and memory impairment. Imaging features were consistent with SIH. Computerized tomography myelography demonstrated a large T2-3 anterior transdural osteophyte associated with a CSF fistula. After an unsuccessful trial of conservative therapy, the patient underwent median sternotomy, T2-3 discectomy and removal of osteophyte, which allowed adequate exposure for primary dural repair. Postoperatively, there was immediate and prolonged resolution of all of her symptoms. This case of SIH was caused by transdural penetration by an anterior osteophyte and CSF leakage in the upper thoracic spine, which was treated effectively by anterior exposure and primary dural repair. Aggressive surgical intervention may be required to treat upper thoracic CSF leaks refractory to other measures.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Diskectomy*
  • Female
  • Fistula
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypotension / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Posture
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / complications*
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / surgery*
  • Subdural Effusion / complications
  • Subdural Effusion / etiology*
  • Thoracic Vertebrae
  • Thoracotomy