Residue bone wax simulating spinal tumour: a case report

Turk Neurosurg. 2010 Oct;20(4):524-6. doi: 10.5137/1019-5149.JTN.2591-09.0.


Bone wax is primarily used in case of bleeding of the diploic vessels of the bones in surgical procedures. It is useful in neurosurgical procedures because of its inert, nonreactive characteristics. Bone wax is safe material and its use rarely leads to complications but there may be complications of over use. It can cause direct pressure of neural tissue as a mass, simulating tumour with the symptoms and on MRI. In the present case the authors evaluated the signs and symptoms, diagnosis, surgical treatment, and outcome in a patient with an unusual sequestered mass simulating a spinal tumour or another space-occupying lesion on preoperative MR imaging. A 64-year-old was woman admitted to the Neurosurgery Clinic with a 10 year history of low back pain, 1-year history of gait disorder, leg weakness, paraparesis, and 1-month history of urinary incontinence and weight loss. T1- weighted sagittal MRI showed the L3 hemilaminectomy, discectomy defect, heterogeneous hyperintense extradural mass and spinal stenosis extending from L2. A hypointense mass relative to the spinal structures was detected in T2- weighted axial MR images.The provisional diagnosis of a cauda equina syndrome and intra- or extradural spinal tumour was made. The patient underwent an L2 total laminectomy. In our case the fragment was seen in the epidural space, under the lamina of L2. The histopathology showed granulation tissue, inflammatory cells, macrophages and multinuclear giant cells. Postoperatively the patient's neurological findings recovered quickly and she began to walk more comfortably.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Foreign Bodies / pathology*
  • Hemostatics / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / pathology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Middle Aged
  • Palmitates / adverse effects*
  • Spinal Diseases / surgery
  • Spinal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Waxes / adverse effects*


  • Hemostatics
  • Palmitates
  • Waxes
  • bone wax