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01.12.2017 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 1/2017

Discography aids definitive diagnosis of posterior epidural migration of lumbar disc fragments: case report and literature review

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2017
Morito Takano, Tomohiro Hikata, Soraya Nishimura, Michihiro Kamata



Posterior epidural migration of lumbar disc fragments (PEMLDF) is extremely rare. It is often confused with other posterior lesions and is usually diagnosed intraoperatively. We here describe the use of preoperative discography in the diagnosis of PEMLDF.

Case presentation

A 78-year-old man presented with acute low back pain, gait disturbance, and paresthesia in both legs. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a mass located posteriorly and laterally to the left aspect of the dural sac at the L3 level. The initial diagnosis indicated PEMLDF, malignancy, spontaneous hematoma, or epidural abscess. L3/4 discography clearly showed leakage of the contrast medium into the posterior dural space, indicating PEMLDF. The lesion was identified intraoperatively as a herniated-disc fragment, consistent with the preoperative discography.


PEMDLF is difficult to diagnose preoperatively. Discography is useful for the definitive diagnosis of PEMDLF prior to surgery.
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