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Injury to the cisterna chyli (CC) is a rare surgical complication with a lack of literature describing its repair. Aneurysm clips have been successfully used to repair durotomies. Its usage in lymphatic injury has never been described. We sought to demonstrate the use of aneurysm clips for the repair of lymphatic vessels. A 60-year-old male retired physician with Parkinson's disease underwent a lumbosacral instrumented fusion with pelvic fixation (L1-pelvis) in 2011. He returned 5 months postoperatively after a fall and was ambulatory with a cane upon admission. CT demonstrated worsening kyphosis with pedicular and superior endplate fracture at the fusion apex. MRI revealed spinal cord compression at the failed level. Extension thoracolumbar fusion was performed (T3-L1) with intraoperative violation of the anterior longitudinal ligament (ALL) during T12/L1 discectomy. CC laceration was suspected. The ALL was dissected from the CC and aorta, allowing visualization of the injury. Three curved aneurysm clips were applied to the lacerated CC, which was visually inspected to ensure a patent lumen. The disk space was filled with poly-methyl-methacrylate cement in place of an interbody cage, preventing migration of the clips. The patient underwent rehabilitation in an inpatient facility with improved ambulation. He has had regular clinic follow-up and was last seen in 2020 with no evidence of lymphedema noted. CC injury is rare, and usage of aneurysm clips in its repair has never been described. We demonstrate the safe use of aneurysm clips to repair CC injury with long-term favorable clinical outcomes. Copyright: © 2021 Surgical Neurology International.


Robert McCabe, Doris Tong, Connor Hanson, Dejan Slavnic, Teck Mun Soo. Using aneurysm clips for repair of cisterna chyli injury during posterior spinal fusion. Surgical neurology international. 2021;12:428

PMID: 34513191

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