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Concept: Epidural space


Low back pain is very common, but the pathophysiology is poorly understood. We present a new hypothesis regarding the pathophysiology of common low back pain supported by our flexible endoscopic observations of the epidural cavity (epiduroscopy), anatomic dissection of embalmed and fresh cadavers, and careful review of preexisting information available on the anatomy of the epidural space and neuroforamen. A new approach to the treatment of common low back pain based on the hypothesis was developed and is presented in the case reports of five patients. Treatment focuses on a perichondrium derivative; the peridural membrane, which creates a suprapedicular compartment in the neuroforamen where we hypothesize inflammatory material accumulates. This produces common low back pain by causing inflammation and sensitization of the peridural membrane and periosteum that forms the boundaries of this compartment. Percutaneous Ablation and Curettage and Inferior Foraminotomy (PACIF(sm) ) aims to destroy the peridural membrane, denervate sensitive structures, and remove inflammatory tissues from the suprapedicular canal. The proposed mechanism of action and safety of PACIF(sm) is discussed in the context of epidural and neuroforaminal anatomy. As shown by the five case reports, PACIF(sm) appears to be highly effective and safe, warranting further evaluation.

Concepts: Scientific method, Low back pain, Back pain, Observation, Epidural, Dissection, Epidural space


Maintaining the integrity of the capsule along with infusing a sufficient amount of fluid is one of the therapeutic concept in intra-articular hydraulic distension (IHD) for adhesive capsulitis. It has been known that hypertonic saline decreases tissue edema and increases the fluid volume within the epidural space, causing microdissection, in epidural adhesiolysis.

Concepts: Concepts in metaphysics, Epidural, Laser capture microdissection, Adhesive capsulitis of shoulder, Hydrodilatation, Epidural space


We describe a patient who received an unintentionally prolonged epidural infusion of phenylephrine. The patient experienced no major morbidity. However, this case highlights the continuing problem of wrong-route drug administration and the urgent need to adopt route-specific connections.

Concepts: Patient, Illness, Epidural, Miracles, Infusion pump, Epidural space


BACKGROUND:Epidural steroid injections are commonly used for management of low back pain with lumbosacral radicular pain and can be administered by either interlaminar or transforaminal routes. The transforaminal route is reported to be more effective than the interlaminar route due to higher delivery of drug at the ventral epidural space. However, the transforaminal route has been associated with serious complications including spinal cord injury and permanent paralysis. Hence, there is a search for a technically better route with fewer complications for drug delivery into the ventral epidural space. Recently, a parasagittal interlaminar (PIL) approach of epidural contrast injection was reported to have 100% ventral epidural spread. However, the therapeutic efficacy of this route has never been investigated. We compared the therapeutic efficacy of the PIL approach and midline interlaminar (MIL) approach. We hypothesized that the PIL approach may produce a better clinical outcome because of better ventral epidural spread of the drug compared with MIL approach.METHODS:Thirty-seven patients were randomized to receive injection of 80 mg methylprednisolone either by the PIL (PIL group, n = 19) or MIL (MIL group, n = 18) approach under fluoroscopic guidance. Patients were evaluated for effective pain relief (≥50% from baseline) by visual analog scale and improvement in disability by the modified Oswestry Disability Questionnaire at intervals of 15 days, 1, 2, 3, and 6 months. Patients having <50% pain relief from baseline received additional epidural injection of the same drug, dosage, and route, a maximum of 3 injections at least 15 days apart. The primary outcome of our study was the incidence of effective pain relief at 6 months.RESULTS:The incidence of patients having effective pain relief was higher with the PIL approach (13/19 [68.4%]) vs MIL (3/18 [16.7%]) at the end of 6 months. A significantly higher relative success of effective pain relief was noted in the PIL group (relative risk, 4.10; 95% confidence interval, 1.40-12.05; P = 0.001) at the end of the 6-month follow up with the requirement of fewer total injections (29 vs 41 in MIL, P = 0.043). Visual analog scale and modified Oswestry Disability Questionnaire scores were significantly lower in the PIL group compared with the MIL group at all time intervals after the procedure. Ventral epidural spread of contrast was significantly higher in the PIL 89.7% vs 31.7% in the MIL group. The administration of epidural steroid injection was without any complications with an exact 95% Clopper-Pearson confidence interval of 0.0% to 17.6% in the PIL group and 0.0% to 18.5% in the MIL group.CONCLUSIONS:Epidural steroid injection administered with the PIL approach was significantly more effective for pain relief and improvement in disability than the MIL approach for 6 months in the management of low back pain with lumbosacral radicular pain.

Concepts: Spinal cord, Spinal disc herniation, Low back pain, Pain, Efficacy, Acupuncture, Epidural, Epidural space


Lumbar epidural lipomatosis (LEL) is characterized by abnormal accumulation of unencapsulated adipose tissue in the spinal epidural space. Such accumulation compresses the dural sac and nerve roots, and results in various neurological findings. However, the pathophysiology of LEL remains unclear. This study examined the associations between imaging and clinical findings in detail, and investigated the mechanisms underlying symptom onset by measuring intraoperative epidural pressures in LEL.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Medicine, Hospital, Muscle, Epidural, Lumbar puncture, Subarachnoid space, Epidural space


A spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma is a collection of blood in the spinal epidural space that occurs in the absence of trauma. They most commonly present in the fourth to fifth decade in life with acute onset neck or back pain with delayed neurologic deficit. However, this presentation is often complicated in children because of the limitations in the pediatric neurologic exam. Magnetic resonance imaging is the imaging modality of choice for diagnosis. Here is a rare case of an infant spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma whose diagnosis was delayed because of a recent history of fever and viral pharyngitis before his development of neurologic deficits. Spontaneous spinal epidural hematomas are a rare phenomenon, which often present with nonspecific symptoms in the pediatric population. This diagnosis should be considered to initiate treatment in a timely manner. The treatment typically is emergent surgical decompression to minimize the risk of permanent neurologic deficit.

Concepts: Brain, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Neurology, Epidural, Subdural hematoma, Epidural hematoma, Epidural space


The best technique to identify the epidural space for labor analgesia is still unclear despite the publication of various randomized controlled studies and meta-analyses. Our aim was to assess the superiority of the saline loss of resistance (SLOR) technique over the air loss of resistance (ALOR) technique with respect to the quality of the block.

Concepts: Childbirth, Randomized controlled trial, Obstetrics, Morphine, Epidural, 2006 albums, Caesarean section, Epidural space


Epidural analgesia provides an important synergistic method of pain control. In addition to reducing perioperative opioid consumption, the deliverance of analgesia into the epidural space, effectively creating a sympathetic blockade, has a multitude of additional potential benefits, from decreasing the incidence of postoperative delirium to reducing the development of persistent postsurgical pain (PPSP). Prior studies have also identified a correlation between the use of epidural analgesia and improved oncological outcomes and survival. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of epidural analgesia in pancreatic operations on immediate postoperative outcomes, the development of PPSP and oncological outcomes in a prospective, single-blind, randomised controlled trial.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Randomized controlled trial, Opioid, Pain, Morphine, Epidural, Codeine, Epidural space


BACKGROUND Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH) occurs in the spinal epidural space in the absence of traumatic or iatrogenic causes, and is considered to be a neurological emergency, as spinal cord compression may lead to neurological deficit. Prompt diagnosis of SSEH can be difficult due to the variety of presenting symptoms, which may resemble those of stroke. Patients who undergo hemodialysis (HD) are at risk of bleeding due to anticoagulation during dialysis and uremia. However, SSEH in HD patients undergoing HD has rarely been reported. CASE REPORT A 70-year-old Japanese man, who has been undergoing maintenance HD for the previous three years, was admitted to Kariya Toyota General Hospital, Aichi, Japan, with acute chest and abdominal pain, and with complete paraplegia. The patient denied any recent trauma or medical procedures. Magnetic resonance imaging showed an extensive hematoma in the thoracic and lumbar epidural space, extending from T8 to L5. The patient’s symptoms improved within three hours following hospital admission, and after three days without HD treatment, the SSEH decreased in size, and the patient successfully recovered without residual neurological deficits and without requiring surgery. CONCLUSIONS The management of SSEH in patients undergoing HD can be difficult, due to anticoagulation during dialysis and uremia. Prompt diagnosis and close neurological monitoring are important for appropriate management. In patients whose symptoms improve within a short period, conservative management may be considered.

Concepts: Medical terms, Patient, Hospital, Greek loanwords, Physician, Magnetic resonance imaging, Epidural, Epidural space


Endovascular therapy has proven to be a safe, minimally invasive treatment for multiple etiologies, but proper precautions must be taken to avoid complications. When complications occur, they should be promptly identified and corrected when possible. This case report describes endovascular stents misplaced into the epidural spinous venous plexus rather than the iliofemoral arteries, causing cauda equina syndrome, as well as the spinal procedure performed to treat the resulting spinal canal compression.

Concepts: Medicine, Stent, Minimally invasive, Invasiveness of surgical procedures, Open surgery, Cauda equina, Cauda equina syndrome, Epidural space