Right arm pain, motor and senory loss in the right arm and right facial numbness recurred in a 27 year old quadraplegic shortly after a posttraumatic spinal cord cyst (PTSCC) was shunted via a catheter into the adjacent subarachnoid space. Although shunt malfunction was clinically suspected, metrizamide computed tomography (MCT) suggested that redundancy of the catheter had caused deformity of the spinal cord. This hypothesis was confirmed at surgery when intraoperative spinal sonography (IOSS) showed that the spinal cord deformity at C1-C2 disappeared when the catheter was withdrawn. This case shows that new or recurrent spinal cord symptoms may be due to a mechanical deformity of the cord rather than shunt malfunction, that restricting the length of the shunt catheter which is used to decompress PTSCCs is important, and that IOSS is an indispensible tool for visualizing the changes in spinal cord morphology during shunting procedures.
- intraoperative spinal sonography
- shunt malfunction
- spinal cord cysts
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology