Rare complications of cervical Spine surgery: Pseudomeningocoele

Tamir Ailon, Justin S. Smith*, Ahmad Nassr, Zachary A. Smith, Wellington K. Hsu, Michael G. Fehlings, David E. Fish, Jeffrey C. Wang, Alan S. Hilibrand, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Dean Chou, Rick C. Sasso, Vincent C. Traynelis, Paul M. Arnold, Thomas E. Mroz, Zorica Buser, Elizabeth L. Lord, Eric M. Massicotte, Arjun S. Sebastian, Khoi D. ThanMichael P. Steinmetz, Gabriel A. Smith, Jonathan Pace, Mark Corriveau, Sungho Lee, K. Daniel Riew, Christopher Shaffrey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Study Design: This study was a retrospective, multicenter cohort study. Objectives: Rare complications of cervical spine surgery are inherently difficult to investigate. Pseudomeningocoele (PMC), an abnormal collection of cerebrospinal fluid that communicates with the subarachnoid space, is one such complication. In order to evaluate and better understand the incidence, presentation, treatment, and outcome of PMC following cervical spine surgery, we conducted a multicenter study to pool our collective experience. Methods: This study was a retrospective, multicenter cohort study of patients who underwent cervical spine surgery at any level(s) from C2 to C7, inclusive; were over 18 years of age; and experienced a postoperative PMC. Results: Thirteen patients (0.08%) developed a postoperative PMC, 6 (46.2%) of whom were female. They had an average age of 48.2 years and stayed in hospital a mean of 11.2 days. Three patients were current smokers, 3 previous smokers, 5 had never smoked, and 2 had unknown smoking status. The majority, 10 (76.9%), were associated with posterior surgery, whereas 3 (23.1%) occurred after an anterior procedure. Myelopathy was the most common indication for operations that were complicated by PMC (46%). Seven patients (53%) required a surgical procedure to address the PMC, whereas the remaining 6 were treated conservatively. All PMCs ultimately resolved or were successfully treated with no residual effects. Conclusions: PMC is a rare complication of cervical surgery with an incidence of less than 0.1%. They prolong hospital stay. PMCs occurred more frequently in association with posterior approaches. Approximately half of PMCs required surgery and all ultimately resolved without residual neurologic or other long-term effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109S-114S
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number1_suppl
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • cervical spine
  • multicenter
  • pseudomeningocoele
  • retrospective

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Rare complications of cervical Spine surgery: Pseudomeningocoele'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this