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Pan Afr Med J. 2016 Mar 24;23:119. doi: 10.11604/pamj.2016.23.119.8443. eCollection 2016.

A case of bilateral visual loss after spinal cord surgery.

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Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana.
Department of Anesthesiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana.
Management Sciences for Health, HEAL TB Project, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Visual loss is a rare but potentially devastating postoperative complication of prone spinal surgery with a reported incidence of 0.017 to 0.1 percent. We present a case of post-operative bilateral visual loss in a patient who had a laminectomy in prone position under general anesthesia. A 17-year-old male patient with large syringomyelia extending from C2 - T2 level had a surgical procedure done under general anesthesia (GA) in prone position that lasted four hours. After the surgical procedure, the patient presented to the Ophthalmology Clinic of Princess Marina Hospital, with a complaint of visual loss of the right eye followed by left, of one week duration. The patient never had a visual impairment in the past. Physical examination, fundal examination and CT scan revealed no primary cause for the visual loss. In this patient the absence of any finding in the optic disc and the retina and the normal CT scan, suggests that the most likely diagnosis is posterior ischemic optic neuropathy. The patient was treated with prednisolone tablet daily and showed mild improvement in vision.


Visual loss; anemia; anesthesia; complication

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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