Brazilian Journal of Pain
Brazilian Journal of Pain
Case Report

Epidural needle fragment related low back pain. Case report

Lombalgia incapacitante causada por fragmento retido de agulha peridural. Relato de caso

Daniela de-Matos; Henrique Cabral; Ricardo Pereira

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Facet syndrome has increasingly been recognized as one the most common causes of chronic low back pain, despite the significant diagnostic challenges imposed by its protean manifestations. Lumbar zygapophyseal degenerative changes are considered the main etiologic agent in cases of facet-associated lumbar pain, with iatrogenic causes rarely involved, particularly those related to retained foreign bodies following invasive medical or surgical procedures. Only three similar reported cases were found in the literature.

CASE REPORT: Female patient, 36 years old, presented significant chronic low back pain due to a Tuohy needle fragment retained in upper part of left L1-L2 facet joint and adjacent tract of the medial branch of the dorsal nerve corresponding to the suprajacent level, following epidural anesthesia performed for elective cesarean section. Failure of conservative treatment and pain intensity led to invasive treatment, with surgical removal of the needle fragment as a stand-alone procedure. Clinical response was favorable, and no additional procedures were necessary thus far. Possible difficulties in diagnosing facet syndrome and the surgical strategy for such an uncommon case are discussed.

CONCLUSION: In the case of a rare etiology of low back pain, a particularly accurate clinical and imaging correlation is important to achieve an adequate therapeutic plan. Such plan must encompass an optimal knowledge of spine anatomy and lumbar pain-related mechanisms. Foreign elements that could be responsible for mechanical injury or local inflammatory phenomena contributing to chronic pain should be considered for removal as part of the treatment strategy


Chronic pain, Foreign bodies, Needles, Low back pain


JUSTIFICATIVA E OBJETIVOS: A síndrome facetária é reconhecidamente uma das causas mais comuns de dor lombar crônica, embora as suas manifestações bastante diversas coloquem importantes desafios diagnósticos. Atribui-se à doença degenerativa das zigapófises lombares a principal etiologia do quadro doloroso a elas associado, sendo as causas iatrogênicas relativamente raras, sobretudo as relacionadas com corpos estranhos retidos após procedimentos médicos. Existem unicamente três casos semelhantes reportados na literatura.

RELATO DO CASO: Paciente do sexo feminino, 36 anos, com dor lombar crônica importante relacionada com fragmento de agulha peridural quebrado e retido na região da articulação facetária L1-L2 e do ramo medial do ramo dorsal do nível suprajacente, durante o procedimento de anestesia pré-parto. A falha do tratamento conservador e a intensidade do quadro álgico fizeram com que se optasse por tratamento invasivo, nesse caso com remoção cirúrgica do fragmento retido, com boa resposta clínica e sem necessidade de procedimentos adicionais. Discutem-se as razões para possíveis dificuldades diagnósticas do quadro de síndrome facetário e a estratégia terapêutica num caso incomum.

CONCLUSÃO: Numa situação de etiologia rara de dor lombar crônica, uma adequada correlação clínico-imagiológica é da maior importância. O plano terapêutico deve envolver um ótimo conhecimento da anatomia da coluna e dos mecanismos que podem contribuir para a dor lombar. A remoção de elementos estranhos que possam ser responsáveis por lesão mecânica ou fenômenos inflamatórios locais, como este corpo estranho, deve ser uma opção a ter em conta no tratamento.


Agulhas, Dor crônica, Dor lombar, Reação a corpo estranho


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