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Surg Neurol. 2007 Jan;67(1):65-73; discussion 73. Epub 2006 Oct 6.

Spinal gout in a renal transplant patient: a case report and literature review.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA 94305-5327, USA.



Gout in the axial spine is rare. We present a case report on a renal transplant patient who developed fever and acute back pain at the L5 through S1 level secondary to sodium urate deposits. We review the literature on this rare disease and propose a management algorithm based on a resulting analysis.


A 37-year-old man with a history of gout and a renal transplant for IgA nephropathy presented with acute back pain and fever without evidence of neurological deficits. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a uniformly contrast-enhancing infiltrative process involving the right pedicle, lamina, and inferior facet of the L5 vertebra. Computed tomography-guided needle biopsy revealed a friable white tissue consistent with sodium urate crystals. Conservative treatment with steroids and narcotics was used with good symptomatic relief.


Although few cases of gout involving the spine have been reported, its prevalence is likely grossly underestimated. Most patients have a history of gout and have elevated levels of serum urate level on presentation. The disease most commonly involves the lumbar spine. Patients usually have neurological deficits on presentation, and surgical decompression produces favorable outcomes. However, conservative medical management is appropriate for those with back pain only. Aggressive control of hyperuricemia is essential regardless of the method of treatment.

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