Spinal hematoma is a condition in which blood accumulates, which compresses the nerve roots present near the spine or sometimes the spinal cord. It is a matter of concern when blood collects anywhere in the body. But it is even more problematic when it collects near the spine. The compression that it causes is serious and must be treated as quickly as possible.
Cause of spinal hematoma
Anything that causes hemorrhage near the spinal cord leads to spinal hematoma. Here are some of the reasons that can lead to spinal hematoma:
- Patients going through anticoagulant therapy, which decreases the ability of the body to clot blood, or thrombolytic therapy, which uses drugs that melt blood clots, are at risk of developing spinal hematoma.
- A person with a lumbar puncture done for collection and examination of spinal fluid has increased chances of developing a spinal hematoma.
- Sudden spike in blood pressure
- Being prone to bleeding
- A person on anticoagulation medicines is at risk of getting spinal hematoma.
Symptoms of spinal hematoma
Symptoms usually vary based on the bleeding site, extent, and location. Some of the common symptoms are:
- Sudden pain, weakness, or unresponsiveness that has never happened before
- Back pain that is either local or radiating
- Weakness in muscles
- Issues with walking
- Reduced bowel/bladder control
Diagnosis of spinal hematoma
The only way to diagnose spinal hematoma is through different imaging tests. If MRI is not available, then CT myelography can be done. In this imaging test, a contrast dye is injected to the patient to recognize the exact location where the spinal hematoma has occurred.
How is spinal hematoma treated?
There are no medicines or any conservative options available for the treatment of spinal hematoma. It is treated through surgical drainage of the blood to relieve the pressure it puts on the spinal cord or the nerve roots.
Some other treatment options are:
- Laminectomy surgery is performed, in which the vertebra that covers the spinal cord is removed for access to the hematoma.
- When hematoma is caused because of clotting problems, medicines are administered post surgery for restoration of the clotting abilities of the person.
- When a patient has low blood platelet count, platelets are given to enhance clotting capability.
Even if rare, there is always a risk of developing spinal hematoma, especially when someone experiences trauma or a spinal tap. There are no preventive measures you can take, but you can try to avoid things like direct spinal trauma and remain cautious of any symptoms that are not common after a spinal tap. It will assist in lessening the risk of experiencing any serious issues from hematoma.
Spinal hematoma is an uncommon but serious condition that requires proper diagnosis and timely treatment. It is important to be aware of the causes, signs, and treatment methods that will help you and the medical team manage it effectively and lessen the impact on the overall quality of life. If you or anyone you know is experiencing symptoms that suggest spinal hematoma, seek quick medical attention for the best outcome.
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