J Korean Soc Spine Surg.  2003 Sep;10(3):233-239. 10.4184/jkss.2003.10.3.233.

Incidental Dural Tear during Posterior Surgery of Degenerative Lumbar Disease

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Bucheon, Korea. schsbj@schbc.ac.kr

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective study.
OBJECTIVE
To analyze the clinical features and prognosis of intraoperative incidental durotomy during posterior surgery for degenerative lumbar disease. In addition, we tried to evaluate clinical outcome and safety of skillful neglect of pin point dural tear. SUMMARY OF LITERATURE REVIEW : Incidental durotomy is one of the most common complications during the operation of degenerative lumbar disease. It may cause signs and symptoms of cerebrospinal fluid leakage and complications such as meningitis, wound infection, pseudomeningocele and fistula. From the literature review, primary repair is mandatory even in the case of pin point dural tear.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Seven hundred fifty-five patients with degenerative lumbar disease, who were operated posteriorly from Jan. 1990 to Feb. 2002, were reviewed retrospectively. Primary operations were 378 cases of laminectomy without instrumentation and 377 cases of decompression and instrumented fusion. Of these patients, 44 (6 percent) sustained an incidental dural tear. We analyzed the mechanisms of dural tear, intraoperative treatment, postoperative management and clinical outcome.
RESULTS
Eight cases (2.1%) of dural tears occurred during discectomy, 36 (9.5%) during instrumentation and fusion, and 12 (20%) during revision surgery. Dural tears were treated intraoperatively by primary repair in 20 cases, by fascial graft in 2 and without repair (skillful neglect) in 22. There were no cases of persistent cerebrospinal fluid leakage or fistula formation, and the symptoms of cerebrospinal fluid leakage were transient. Of 36 patients followed for more than one year, 82% had good or excellent result.
CONCLUSION
Incidental durotomy occurred in 5.8 percent of lower back surgery patients, and more frequently in revision surgery. Very small dural tears did not have significant influence on the clinical outcome, whether they were repaired or not. Skillful neglect of pin point dural tear may be a reasonable treatment option.

Keyword

Intraoperative incidental durotomy; Degenerative lumbar surgery

MeSH Terms

Cerebrospinal Fluid
Decompression
Diskectomy
Fistula
Humans
Laminectomy
Meningitis
Prognosis
Retrospective Studies
Transplants
Wound Infection
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