Delayed dural leak following posterior spinal fusion for idiopathic scoliosis using all posterior pedicle screw technique

Lorena V. Floccari, A. Noelle Larson, Anthony A. Stans, Jeremy Fogelson, Iikka Helenius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: In pediatric patients, pedicle screws are malpositioned 5% to 15% of the time. Complications associated with malpositioned screws are infrequently reported in the literature. We present a series of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients who presented in a delayed manner with positional headache and chronic dural leak adjacent to the pedicle screw tract. Methods: Scoliosis databases at 2 centers were reviewed, and cases of delayed positional headaches following posterior spinal fusion for AIS were identified. Demographic and clinical data were collected. Results: Of 322 patients, 4 patients presented with positional headaches at a mean of 12.8 weeks following posterior spinal fusion surgery for AIS, with an interval time to diagnosis of 5 months. Computed tomographic myelogram demonstrated severe pedicle screw malposition in 1 patient, and minimal malposition in 3 patients (<2 mm violation). The patients had delayed presentation with positional headaches secondary to dural leak. All patients successfully underwent revision surgery with repair of the dural leak. At the time of latest follow-up, all patients are asymptomatic. Conclusions: Pedicle screw malposition can result in dural leaks. Patients may present in a delayed manner with positional headaches and an acquired Chiari malformation. Clinical suspicion should prompt imaging of the brain or cervical spine followed by computed tomographic myelogram to determine site of leak. This is a rare complication from pedicle screw malposition. Levels of Evidence: Level IV - case series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e415-e420
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017


  • acquired Chiari malformation
  • adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • dural leak
  • malposition
  • pedicle screw

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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