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J Spinal Disord Tech. 2006 Aug;19(6):447-50.

Far lateral extraforaminal facet cyst causing L5 radiculopathy.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Kanebo Memorial Hospital, Japan.


Most synovial cysts of the lumbar spine appear as intraspinal extradural masses adjacent to the facet joint. Almost all symptomatic synovial cysts are located within the spinal canal and or the neural foramen. To our knowledge, only 6 cases of symptomatic extraspinal synovial cysts have been described in the literature. The authors report a case of lumbar radiculopathy caused by a synovial cyst located in the far lateral extraforaminal area. The patient underwent decompression of the L5 nerve root with recapping right isthmectomy and facetectomy. Postoperative recovery was uneventful, and the patient was totally pain free with no motor deficit. Symptomatic synovial cysts are uncommon lesions that are associated with degenerative disease of the spine. Juxtafacet cysts should be considered in the differential diagnosis of space-occupying lesions at the extraforaminal areas. Recapping isthmectomy and facetectomy are useful procedures for a synovial cyst located in the far lateral extraforaminal area.

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