Bacterial meningitis and cauda equina syndrome after trans-sacral epiduroscopic laser decompression: A case report


Trans-sacral epiduroscopic laser decompression (SELD) is a noninvasive pain-relieving procedure for treatment of herniated lumbar disc (HLD), and is known to have positive effects in alleviating lower back pain or radicular leg pain after HLD. However, little is known about the possible complications of SELD.

Patient concerns:

A 51-year-old woman received SELD with a holmium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser for controlling radicular pain due to HLD on L5-S1. However, 5 days after SELD, she complained of headache, and 9 days after the SELD, cauda equine syndrome (CES) symptoms, including motor weakness of both lower extremities (manual muscle testing-left: 3, right: 4), voiding and defecation difficulties, and neuropathic pain, were manifested.


Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis performed 15 days after the SELD revealed elevated white blood cell count 7560 cells/μL. Staphylococcus hominis sensitive to vancomycin was cultured from CSF. The gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging showed diffuse leptomeningeal enhancement along the distal cord and cauda equina. The latency of electrically induced bulbocavernosus reflex (BCR) was delayed in the right side and no response of BCR was presented in the left side. Based on the patient’s symptoms and the results of the clinical evaluation, we diagnosed the patient as having a bacterial meningitis and CES.


The patient received 2 g per day of intravenous vancomycin for 2 months.


After treatment with intravenous vancomycin for 2 months, all the CES symptoms were completely resolved.


In this study, we described a patient who had bacterial meningitis after SELD. During SELD, clinicians should keep in mind the possibility of infection.

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