Spinal epidural lipomatosis: report of a case secondary to hypothyroidism and review of literature

J Neurol. 1987 Apr;234(3):172-6. doi: 10.1007/BF00314138.


Epidural lipomatosis usually occurs as a complication of steroid therapy. This report includes the first description of a case secondary to hypothyroidism. Adults in all age groups can be affected and present with progressive signs and symptoms of spinal cord or cauda equina compression. The dorsal aspect of the thoracic spine is most commonly involved, usually in its total extent. Spine radiographs are normal and myelography poorly delineates the nature and extent of abnormality. While computed tomography can provide information about the nature of the spinal mass, magnetic resonance imaging is the investigation of choice. Extensive decompressive laminectomy is useful but the results are variable. Correction of underlying endocrine abnormality can reverse the process. The need for early diagnosis of this disorder is therefore emphasized.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Epidural Space*
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / complications*
  • Hypothyroidism / drug therapy
  • Laminectomy
  • Lipomatosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Lipomatosis / etiology*
  • Lipomatosis / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Canal*
  • Spinal Cord Compression / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Compression / surgery
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / pathology
  • Steroids / therapeutic use
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Steroids