Constantin Schizas, Noël Foko’o, Maurice Matter, Sebastien Romy, Everard Munting


February 2009, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 228 - 231 Case Report Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-009-0893-0

First Online: 13 February 2009

Lymphocoele is a rare and little known complication with only a handful of reports available. We report two cases of lymphocoele after anterior lumbar surgery that have occurred in two different centres and discuss diagnosis and management options. The first case is that of a 53-year-old male patient undergoing two level anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) for disabling back pain due to disc degeneration in the context of an old spondylodiscitis. He developed a large fluid mass postoperatively. Fluid levels of creatinin were low and intravenous urography ruled out a urinoma suggesting the diagnosis of a lymphocoele. Following two unsuccessful drainage attempts he underwent a laparoscopic marsupialization. The second case was that of a 32-year-old female patient developing a large fluid mass following a L5 corpectomy for a burst fracture. She was treated successfully with insertion of a vacuum drain during 7 days. Lymphocoele is a rare complication but should be suspected if fluid collects postoperatively following anterior lumbar spine procedures. Chemical analysis of the fluid can help in diagnosis. Modern treatment consists of laparoscopic marsupialization. Lymph vessel anatomy should be borne in mind while exposing the anterior lumbar spine.


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