Spinal epidural lipomatosis in a pediatric patient with a malignant brain tumor: Illustrative case


Advocate Lutheran General Hospital


Background: Spinal epidural lipomatosis (SEL) in pediatric patients with concomitant malignant brain neoplasms is rare and can present with rapid deterioration in neurological function.

Observations: A 4-year-old boy with SEL became paraplegic 4 months after completion of chemoradiation for his previously resected, intracranial atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor. The patient presented with rapid deterioration in lower extremity sensory and motor function, which, given his oncological history, was concerning for disease progression. Of note, 8 months prior, the patient was started on corticosteroid therapy for respiratory dysfunction. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed significant progression of lumbosacral SEL requiring surgical decompression with subsequent neurological improvement.

Lessons: When evaluating pediatric patients with primary or metastatic brain tumors with new or worsening myelopathy and motor or sensory deficits, it is important to consider SEL.

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