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Intracranial subdural hematoma as a cause of postoperative delirium and headache in cervical laminoplasty: A case report and review of the literature

Hiroshi Habunaga, MD,1 Hiroaki Nakamura, MD2
1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Ishikiriseiki Hospital, Osaka, Japan 2Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan



To describe a rare case of acute intracranial subdural hematoma as a cause of postoperative delirium and headache following cervical spine surgery.

Summary of Background Data

Headache is uncommon following spinal surgery, but can be observed in cases of accidental tearing of the dura during surgery. The causes of headache after surgery are thought to include dural tear and CSF leakage. On the other hand, intracranial subdural hematoma can be a cause of headache and cognitive dysfunction. However, only 4 cases as a postoperative complication of spinal surgery have been reported in the literature.


A 55-year-old man underwent re-explorative surgery due to postoperative hematoma causing hemiplegia following cervical laminoplasty. During this operation, accidental dural tear occurred and induced CSF leakage. On the following day, headache and delirium were noted. CSF leakage continued despite intraoperative repair of the dural laceration. Cranial CT at that time clearly demonstrated subdural hematoma.


We reexplored the surgical site and attempted to stop the CSF leakage with meticulous suturing of the dural sac under microscopic observation. The intracranial subdural hematoma was carefully observed under consultation with a specialist neurosurgeon. Following this reexploration, the headache and delirium gradually improved, with spontaneous resolution of intracranial hematoma over a two-month period of observation.


We have reported a rare case of acute intracranial subdural hematoma caused by CSF leakage following cervical spine surgery. This report demonstrates the possibility of intracranial hematoma as a cause of postoperative cognitive dysfunction or headache, especially when accidental tearing of the dura has occurred in spinal surgery.

Intracranial subdural hematoma, Spine surgery, CSF leakage, Delirium, Headache
Volume 5 Issue 1