Spinal procedures, pneumocephalus, and cranial nerve palsies: A review of the literature
Jumah A, Alsaif A, Fana M, Aboul Nour H, Zoghoul S, Eltous L, and Miller D. Spinal procedures, pneumocephalus, and cranial nerve palsies: A review of the literature. Neuroradiol J 2023.
Purpose: Minimally invasive and surgical spine procedures are commonplace with various risks and complications. Cranial nerve palsies, however, are infrequently encountered, particularly after procedures such as lumbar punctures, epidural anesthesia, or intrathecal injections, and are understandably worrisome for clinicians and patients as they may be interpreted as secondary to a sinister etiology. However, a less commonly considered source is a pneumocephalus which may, in rare cases, abut cranial nerves and cause a palsy as a benign and often self-resolving complication. Here, we present the case of a patient who underwent an intrathecal methotrexate infusion for newly diagnosed non-Hodgkin's T-cell lymphoma and subsequently developed an abducens nerve palsy due to pneumocephalus. We highlight the utility of various imaging modalities, treatment options, and review current literature on spinal procedures resulting in cranial nerve palsies attributable to pneumocephalus presenting as malignant etiologies.
ePub ahead of print