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Spinal epidural lipomatosis following bilateral spinal decompression surgery
  1. Davyd Greenish1,
  2. Karen Watura1 and
  3. Ian Harding2
  1. 1 Medicine, Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Taunton, Somerset, UK
  2. 2 North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Karen Watura, karenwatura{at}


A 73-year-old man underwent bilateral spinal decompression of L4/5 for severe spinal canal stenosis, requiring minimal analgesia and providing immediate relief. Two days post-operatively, he presented with new onset bilateral leg pain and difficulty mobilising. MRI demonstrated spinal epidural lipomatosis (SEL), which was not present pre-operatively, at L5/S1. Further surgery was performed with decompression of L5/S1 through removal of epidural fat. At both 3 weeks and 5 months follow-up clinics, the patient was asymptomatic. To our knowledge, this is the first case of acute spinal epidural lipomatosis directly following spinal surgery. It is important to recognise SEL as a complication following spinal surgical intervention, due to the potential development of significant neurological consequences.

  • radiology
  • orthopaedic and trauma surgery

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  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Contributors DG wrote the manuscript. KW proof-read and edited the manuscript. IH provided patient the information, proof-read and edited the article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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