Compressive myelopathy from diffuse spinal dural calcifications in a patient with end-stage renal disease: illustrative case

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J Neurosurg Case Lessons


BACKGROUND: Diffuse spinal dural calcification is a rare disorder associated with hyperparathyroidism, including the secondary forms associated with renal failure, osteodystrophy, and chronic hypocalcemia. Here, the authors report a rare case of diffuse dural calcification causing spinal cord compression with myelopathy, requiring decompressive surgery with duraplasty to achieve adequate decompression.

OBSERVATIONS: A 46-year-old male with a history of renal failure on dialysis presented with 2 months of progressive neuropathic pain, lower-extremity weakness, and nonsustained clonus. Spine imaging showed severe renal osteodystrophy with multilevel compression fractures and diffuse dural calcifications with areas of invagination causing severe spinal cord compression. Decompressive surgery was recommended. In surgery, a thickened and calcified dura was encountered with areas of buckling causing spinal cord compression. The invaginated area of the dura was resected and reconstructed with patch duraplasty. The patient's neurological status remained unchanged postoperatively, and at the 6-month follow-up, the patient reported significant improvement in pain and muscle spasms.

LESSONS: Diffuse dural calcifications are a rare complication of prolonged dialysis and secondary hyperparathyroidism. When there is resultant spinal cord compression, this condition requires an intradural approach that addresses the thickened, calcified dura directly to obtain adequate spinal cord decompression.

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