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ABSTRACT: This 44-year-old man presented with a 4-year history of progressive spastic weakness of his legs. He was found to have epidural lipomatosis behind the thoracic spinal cord, and the nerve roots exited from the posterior and anterior midline planes of the dura, indicating a 90 degree rotation of the thoracic cord. Magnetic resonance images clearly demonstrated the segmental thoracic nerve roots exiting from the dorsal midline of the dura, a finding confirmed at surgery. The authors found only one previously published case of rotation of the spinal cord. Directed mechanical stress caused by deformation of the rotated spinal cord, rather than compression from adipose tissue, is proposed as the mechanism of the myelopathy. The extent, location, and thickness of the associated extradural adipose tissue is suggestive of epidural lipomatosis. The lipomatous tissue might have been an epiphenomenon and cord rotation an isolated congenital anomaly. Alternatively, asymmetrical growth of epidural fat may have exerted torque, rotating the thecal sac.
Journal of Neurosurgery 08/1998; 89(1):133-8. · 3.15 Impact Factor