Background: Spinal epidural lipomatosis is an uncommon source of neurogenic claudication. We present two cases of spinal epidural lipomatosis as it relates to diagnosis, management, and a possible association with common medical intervention.
Case presentation: Case 1: 63-year old male patient presented with neurogenic claudication symptoms, but without evidence of bony central canal stenosis on lumbar computed tomography. He entered a trial of spinal manipulation with transient beneficial gains after seven appointments, but no durable change in neurogenic claudication. An MRI was recommended at this point which revealed grade III spinal epidural lipomatosis at the L5/S1 level.
Case 2: 51-year old male patient presented to a pain management physician with radicular symptoms for a series of lumbar epidural steroid injections. He completed a series of three lumbar epidural steroid injections with only short-term benefit. A repeat MRI demonstrated the presence of grade I (borderline grade II) spinal epidural lipomatosis.
Conclusions: The first case illustrates a limitation of ruling out central canal stenosis with computed tomography for patients unable to undergo an MRI. The second case demonstrates a possible association between steroid injections and spinal epidural lipomatosis. An association of this kind has not been established; further research is needed to determine the significance.
Author keywords: Lipomatosis — Spinal stenosis — Chiropractic — Epidural steroid injection — Epidural fat — Case series
Author affiliations: KMS: Syracuse VA Medical Center, Syracuse, NY USA; CJD: Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System - American Lake, Tacoma, WA USA; CJD, GAB, PJW: Adjunct Faculty Logan University, Chesterfield, MO USA; PJW, JDT: Veterans Affairs Saint Louis Health Care System, St. Louis, MO USA; JDT: Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO USA
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