Editor-in-Chief: Alaa Abd-Elsayed, MD, PhD
BACKGROUND: A seroma is a collection of serous fluid that commonly occurs as a postoperative complication. Most seromas are diagnosed several days after surgery and typically resorb over a few months. While some seromas are asymptomatic, others can cause significant complications. Most seromas are easily treatable when the site is readily accessible. However, seroma formation after spine surgery can be more challenging to diagnose and manage due to anatomic considerations. Seroma formation following spine surgery is considered a rare postoperative complication, but has been recognized as a risk for rehospitalization and instrumentation.
CASE PRESENTATION: We describe a 72-year-old woman, who underwent spine surgery 17 months prior, that developed recurrence of her back pain and radiculopathy after a mechanical fall. She underwent magnetic resonance imaging, which demonstrated a large 7.5 x 8 x 4.5-cm seroma around the site of her prior surgery. She was started on neuropathic pain medications and referred to a neurosurgeon for further evaluation as the location of the seroma interfered with the ability to treat her with most interventional pain procedures.
CONCLUSION: This case illustrates that seromas can recur as a postoperative complication after spine surgery, distant from the original procedure. Additionally, this case reinforces the importance of reimaging patients when there is a history of trauma before considering routine interventional pain procedures.
KEY WORDS: Lumbar radiculopathy, spine surgery, chronic pain, complications