Paraplegia by acute cervical disc protrusion after lumbar spine surgery

Sheng Huan Chen, Yu Ling Hui, Chong Ming Yu, Chi Chien Niu, Ping Wing Lui*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

30 Scopus citations


Non-traumatic paraplegia caused by herniation of the cervical intervertebral disc is an uncommon postoperative complication. A patient with claudication and radiculopathy was scheduled for lumbar laminectomy due to spinal stenosis. Postoperatively, numbness below T6 was found in his both legs of the patient. MRI showed a protruded intervertebral disc between C6 and C7. Despite urgent disectomy, the patient's lower extremities remained paralyzed without significant improvement for 3 months. Loss of muscle support during general anesthesia, excessive neck extension during endotracheal intubation and positioning, as well as bucking and agitation are believed as triggering factors for the protrusion of the cervical disc. We suggest that a complete history taking and physical examination be accomplished in patients scheduled for lumbar spine surgery in order to exclude coexisting cervical spine disorders. In addition, skillful endotracheal intubation and careful neck positioning are mandatory for patients receiving surgery in the prone position.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-257
Number of pages4
JournalChang Gung Medical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 04 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical disc herniation
  • Lumbar laminectomy
  • Paraplegia
  • Postoperative complication


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