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A rare non-malignant cause of spinal cord compression in a young patient
  1. Joanna Clerici1 and
  2. Sarah MacLaran2,3
  1. 1ST5 Palliative Medicine, Community Palliative Care Team, Coventry, UK
  2. 2Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Coventry Myton Hospice, Coventry, UK
  3. 3University Hospital, University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Coventry, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Joanna Clerici, ST5 Palliative Medicine, Palliative Care Team, Newfield House, Kingfield Road, Coventry CV1 4NZ, UK; joclerici{at}doctors.org.uk

Abstract

In the context of palliative medicine, spinal cord compression occurs in around 5% of patients with cancer. Ten per cent of patients with spinal metastases are affected; the commonest causes are breast, prostate, lung cancer and multiple myeloma. We describe a rare cause of spinal cord compression in a 29-year-old man resulting from a complication of long-term corticosteroid use. Spinal epidural lipomatosis is a complex disorder caused by hypertrophy of adipose tissue located in the spinal epidural space. Symptoms occur when the adipose tissue enlarges, encroaching on the spinal canal. In this case, the aetiology was long-term exogenous dexamethasone use.

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  • Received 23 October 2012.
  • Revision received 22 May 2013.
  • Accepted 2 July 2013.
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