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January 2022

No Shinkei Geka. 1984 Sep; 12(10): 1219-23.

[Direct spinal cord and root injury caused by acupuncture--report of 2 cases]

Sasaki H, Abe H, Iwasaki Y, Tsuru M, Itoh T.

Two cases of the direct spinal cord and root injury caused by acupuncture were presented with a review of eight cases reported previously. Case 1 was 56 years old female who had been developed progressive lumbar pain, which occasionally radiating to the right lateral femoral region, since she had been treated with acupuncture for lumbago 13 months before. Examination revealed the mild sensory impairment on the right lateral femoral area and straight-leg-raising was limited on the both sides. Plain films and myelogram showed the needle between L4/L5 vertebrae and the tip of it stuck in the lumbar root. She recovered after the needle had been removed. Case 2 was 17 years old male who had initially noticed numbness over his left foot after acupuncture for easy fatiguability, which had been progressed stepwise over 2 years, and then examination revealed Brown-Séquard syndrome. Radiological examination showed the needle stuck in the spinal cord between C1/C2 vertebrae and metrizamide CT myelogram disclosed the posterior end of it was in the subarachnoid space. Operative finding revealed a small cavity around the needle in the spinal cord. The needle was removed uneventfully. There was a good recovery of weakness but not of sensation. Although the direct spinal cord and root injury as a complication of acupuncture seems uncommon, our cases show one of a serious complication of acupuncture.

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