Utilising epidural analgesia (EA) during major abdominal surgery in combination with general anaesthetic, is a proven approach to decrease anaesthetic requirement in patients with severe comorbidities, enhance recovery and improve pain management.
Herein we report a case of an 81-years-old female with bilateral lower limb sensory loss, saddle paraesthesia, paraplegia, and incontinence following a thoracic epidural catheterisation required for low anterior resection of rectal adenocarcinoma. The complication was reported by the patient on the third day of post-op.
The magnetic resonance imaging results revealed an extradural extramedullary hyperintense haematoma in the spinal cord at T12-L2 vertebral level. The neurological deficit was addressed urgently with laminectomy; and following implementation of intensive inpatient physiotherapy and rehabilitation regiment the patient restored mild motor function.
We believe the culprit of the acute focal neurology deficits in this patient could be due to the epidural catheterisation and the post-op local anaesthetic injections. From this case, we anecdotally recommend performing thoracolumbar MRI as part of pre-op workup in patients with long standing back issues or claudication, considering x-ray guided catheterisation in higher risk patients for epidural hematoma, and early and repeated neurological examination and rapid investigation for any mild neurological deficits.

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