Complications of spinal surgery

Last revised by Joachim Feger on 11 Sep 2021

Complications of spinal surgery are common and can occur at different time intervals after the surgery. Some of them are related to instrumentation, the procedure and/or the approach others are not. Anyhow, it is essential for the radiologist to be aware of them in the assessment of radiographs, spinal CT or MRI after surgery.

Spinal complications that might be unrelated to spinal instrumentation include 1-6:

Spinal complications related to spinal instrumentation hardware include 1-6:

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: postoperative pseudomeningocoele
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  • Case 2: postoperative spondylodiscitis and epidural abscess
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  • Case 3: postoperative adhesive arachnoiditis
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  • Case 4: pedicle screw in aorta
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  • Case 5: pedicle screw fracture
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  • Case 6: discitis and osteomyelitis (PLIF)
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