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Engorged venous plexus mimicking adjacent segment disease: Case report and review of the literature



An engorged venous plexus may mimic nerve compression from a herniated disk on the magnetic resonance (MR) studies as they both have similar signal intensities. During a laminectomy, if an engorged venous plexus is encountered instead of a disk herniation, there may be marked unanticipated bleeding.

Case description

A 58-year-old female who had a prior anterior lumbar interbody fusion later returned with recurrent radiculopathy. Adjacent segment disease from a spinal disk herniation was suspected based on the surgical history, physical examination, and imaging (MRI) findings. Rather than a disk, an engorged venous plexuses (EVP) was encountered intraoperatively.


Here, we discussed our findings regarding a lumbar EVP rather than a herniated disk and reviewed the current literature. Although rare, a higher index of suspicion for these vascular malformations based on combined historical information and MRI studies should allow one to better detect and/or anticipate an EVP rather than a routine disk.

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