Spine fusion cross-link causing delayed dural erosion and CSF leak: Case report

Gazanfar Rahmathulla, H. Gordon Deen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The past 2 decades have seen a considerable increase in the number of lumbar spinal fusion surgeries. To enhance spinal stabilization and fusion, make the construct resistant to or stiffer for axial stress loading, lateral bending, and torsional stresses, cross-links and connectors were designed and included in a rod-screw construct. The authors present the case of a 49-year-old woman who presented 11 years after undergoing an L4-5 decompression and fusion in which a pedicle screw-rod construct with an integrated cross-link was designed to attach onto the pedicle screws. The patient's response at the time to the initial surgery was excellent; however, at the time of presentation 11 years later, she had significant postural headaches, severe neurogenic claudication, and radiculopathy. Imaging revealed canal compression across the instrumented levels and a possible thickened adherent filum terminale. Reexploration of the level revealed a large erosive dural defect with a CSF leak, spinal canal compression, and a thickened filum at the level of the cross-link. To the author's knowledge, such complications have not been reported in literature. The authors discuss this rare complication of spinal fusion and the need to avoid dural compression when cross-links are used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-443
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2015


  • CSF leak
  • Cross-link
  • Dural erosion
  • Instrumentation
  • Spinal fusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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