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Management of spontaneous extramedullary spinal haematomas: results in eight patients after MRI diagnosis and surgical decompression.
  1. J J Langmayr,
  2. M Ortler,
  3. A Dessl,
  4. K Twerdy,
  5. F Aichner,
  6. S Felber
  1. Universitätsklinik für Neurochirurgie, Innsbruck, Austria.


    Spinal cord compression due to extradural and subdural haemorrhage is a neurosurgical emergency. Differences in clinical presentation in relation to localisation of the haematoma, value of MRI as a diagnostic tool, surgical treatment, and prognosis were investigated in a retrospective case series of eight patients with extradural (n = four) and subdural (n = four) haematomas. Results of MRI were compared with operative findings and proved to be of high sensitivity in defining the type of bleeding and delineating craniocaudal extension and ventrodorsal location. Surgical treatment by decompressive laminectomy, haematoma evacuation, and postoperative high dose corticosteroids resulted in resolution of symptoms in five patients and improvement in the clinical situation in two patients. One patient with a chronic subdural haematoma had a second operation because of arachnoidal adhesions. One patient presented with a complete cord transection syndrome due to an acute subdural haematoma and remained paraplegic. It is concluded that prompt, reliable, and non-invasive diagnosis by MRI leads to efficient surgical treatment and a favourable outcome in this rare condition.

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