Spinal cord compression from traumatic anterior cervical pseudomeningoceles. Report of three cases

Eric M. Horn, Ruth E. Bristol, Iman Feiz-Erfan, Elisa J. Beres, Nicholas C. Bambakidis, Nicholas Theodore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pseudomeningoceles rarely develop after cervical trauma; in all reported cases the lesions have extended outside the spinal canal. The authors report the first known cases of anterior cervical pseudomeningoceles contained entirely within the spinal canal and causing cord compression and neurological injury. The authors retrospectively reviewed the cases of three patients with traumatic cervical spine injuries and concomitant compressive anterior pseudomeningoceles. The lesion was recognized in the first case when the patient's neurological status declined after he sustained a severe atlantoaxial injury; the pseudomeningocele was identified intraoperatively and decompressed. After the decompressive surgery, the patient's severe tetraparesis partially resolved. In the other two patients diagnoses of similar pseudomeningoceles were established by magnetic resonance imaging. Both patients were treated conservatively, and their mild to moderate hemiparesis due to the pseudomeningocele-induced compression abated. The high incidence of anterior cervical pseudomeningoceles seen at the authors' institution within a relatively brief period suggests that this lesion is not rare. The authors believe that it is important to recognize the compressive nature of these lesions and their potential to cause devastating neurological injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-258
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Atlantoaxial injury
  • Cervical instability
  • Pseudomeningocele
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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