Esophageal perforation caused by a thoracic pedicle screw

Esophageal perforation caused by a thoracic pedicle screw

Stanislas Marouby, Clément Jeandel, Djamel Louahem M’Sabah, Marion Delpont, Jérôme Cottalorda

May 2018, pp 1 - 6
DOI
10.1007/s00586-018-5611-3
First Online: 03 May 2018
Abstract

[InlineMediaObject not available: see fulltext.]This grand round raises the risk of a rare complication that can be avoided with the knowledge of the particular anatomy of scoliosis vertebra. Transpedicular screws have been reported to enhance the operative correction in scoliosis surgery. The narrow and inconsistent shape of the thoracic pedicles makes the placement of pedicle screws technically challenging. Furthermore, in thoracic curves, the close proximity of the spinal cord and major soft tissue structures also adds a greater risk to the procedure. The esophagus lies close to the upper thoracic vertebras and, an anterior cortical perforation can cause esophageal injury. We report a case of anterior cortical perforation by a T4 pedicle screw complicated by an esophageal perforation in a 15-year-old girl with convulsive encephalopathy. She was operated for a severe neurological scoliosis (Rett syndrome). Her neurological condition deteriorated 3 years after the posterior spinal surgery, requiring a percutaneous gastrostomy. An intra-esophageal screw was discovered incidentally during an endoscopy. We decided not to remove this screw, because the patient’s health status presented a surgical contraindication. The patient showed no apparent discomfort at the 10-year follow-up examination after spinal arthrodesis. Esophageal perforation caused by a posterior pedicle screw is very rare. We highlight the risk of injury to esophagus from pedicle screws in upper thoracic vertebra. The systematic removal of a malpositioned screw must be discussed, on a case-to-case benefit–risk basis, especially if the patient has numerous comorbidities, given the long-term tolerance of a number of these improperly positioned implants.