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Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine
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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 156-158

Pseudarthrosis due to galvanic corrosion presenting as subarachnoid hemorrhage

1 School of Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA
2 Division of Neurosurgery, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA

Correspondence Address:
Rosemary Noel Beavers
School of Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Blvd, Galveston, Texas 77555
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcvjs.JCVJS_6_17

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Two unlike metals near one another can break down as they move toward electrochemical equilibrium resulting in galvanic corrosion. We describe a case of electrochemical corrosion resulting in pseudarthrosis, followed by instrumentation failure leading to subarachnoid hemorrhage. A 53-year-old female with a history of cervical instability and two separate prior cervical fusion surgery with sublaminar cables presented with new onset severe neck pain. Restricted range of motion in her neck and bilateral Hoffman's was noted. X-ray of her cervical spine was negative. A noncontrast CT scan of her head and neck showed subarachnoid hemorrhage in the prepontine and cervicomedullary cisterns. Neurosurgical intervention involved removal of prior stainless steel and titanium cables, repair of cerebrospinal fluid leak, and nonsegmental C1–C3 instrumented fusion. She tolerated the surgery well and followed up without complication. Galvanic corrosion of the Brook's fusion secondary to current flow between dissimilar metal alloys resulted in catastrophic instrumentation failure and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

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