Evaluation and management of abdominal lymphoceles after anterior lumbar spine surgery

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2008 Oct 15;33(22):E852-7. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181891791.


Study design: Case report.

Objective: To examine the management of abdominal lymphoceles after anterior spine surgery and to review the existing literature on lymphoceles after access to the spine.

Summary of background data: Abdominal lymphoceles are a rare complication of anterior spinal approaches.

Methods: Case report and review of the literature.

Results: In this article, we describe the management of 2 lymphoceles. In the first case, immediate operative drainage was required because of worsening abdominal pain and distention. In the second patient, conservative management was attempted, but the lymphocele ultimately persisted and required surgical intervention.

Conclusion: Lymphoceles are often difficult to distinguish from ureteral injury, cerebrospinal fluid-leaks and hematomas using conventional imaging techniques. Although surgery remains the gold standard for the treatment of lymphoceles, expectant observation may be reasonable in some situations.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Aged
  • Drainage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Lymphocele / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymphocele / etiology*
  • Lymphocele / surgery
  • Retroperitoneal Space
  • Spinal Fusion / adverse effects*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed