Send to

Choose Destination
World Neurosurg. 2015 Oct;84(4):1177.e9-11. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2015.06.050. Epub 2015 Jun 29.

Posttraumatic Cervical Nerve Root Avulsion with Epidural Hematoma.

Author information

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.



Cervical nerve root avulsion after trauma is a well-known occurrence. It is associated with traction injuries to the brachial plexus, commonly after high-speed motor vehicle collisions. Traumatic nerve root avulsion occurs when traction forces pull the nerve root sleeve into the intervertebral foramen with associated tearing of the meninges. The proximal nerve root retracts, and the neural foramen fills with cerebrospinal fluid and eventually forms a pseudomeningocele. Although imaging characteristics often include nerve root edema and pseudomeningoceles, there has only been one description of associated epidural hematoma in the literature.


A 3-year-old girl restrained in a passenger-side rear car seat presented to the emergency department after a high-speed motor vehicle collision. The patient was found lying unconscious on the floor of the front passenger side. On arrival, she was flaccid with absent sensation in her left upper extremity, 3/5 strength in her right upper extremity, and full strength in her lower extremities. Computed tomography of the cervical spine was negative for acute fractures. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the cervical spine demonstrated a noncompressive epidural hematoma from C5-T10 and MRI brachial plexus demonstrated diffuse left cervical nerve root edema and C5-T1 nerve root avulsion with pseudomeningoceles, which were not seen on the MRI cervical spine. The patient was managed conservatively for her brachial plexus injury.


Although pseudomeningocele formation after cervical nerve root avulsion is commonly cited, associated epidural hematomas are not well described. It is important to consider this etiology in patients with asymmetric examinations and epidural hematomas before surgical evacuation.


Cervical spine; Epidural hematoma; Nerve root avulsion; Pediatrics; Trauma

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center