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Spine and Back Health

Hemangiomas and spine surgery

08/19/2008

Question:

Can multiple hemangiomas in the thoracic and lumbar spine cause bleeding when surgery is done on a budging disc at L4-5? Is it normal to have multiple hemangiomas and vacuum phenomenon throughout the whole spine? And can a hemangioma in the sacral spine be seen on an MRI or compress sacral nerves and cause pain? Thank you. My doctor said he will "just discuss the bulging disc," and I do not want surgery unless I know all the facts.

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. The hemangiomas are usually incidental, and not related to any disc problems. They would not normally affect bleeding risk during a routine operation for a bulging disc. It is not normal to have multiple hemangiomas and vacuum disc throughout the spine, although the two are not related to each other. The vacuum disc sign indicates advanced deterioration of the discs. Hemangiomas in the sacrum do not typically compress nerves or cause pain. I hope this information helps. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University