Unusual foreign body causing quadriparesis: Case report

Christopher R. Tomaras, Raymond W. Grundmeyer, Thomas S. Chow, Todd Trask

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE AND IMPORTANCE: An unusual foreign body traversing the spinal canal at the foramen magnum level is described. Interesting radiological findings and a review of nonmissile penetrating injuries are presented. This case demonstrates the importance of a thorough physical examination and the use of neurodiagnostic imaging in an inebriated, uncooperative patient with neurological dysfunction. CLINICAL PRESENTATION: The patient presented with quadriparesis confounded by cocaine intoxication. A physical examination revealed only a small punctate lesion in the posterior occipital region. INTERVENTION: After detection of the foreign body, the patient underwent immediate surgical exploration and removal of the object. The dura was repaired primarily, and the patient was maintained on intravenous antibiotics for 7 days. CONCLUSION: With physical therapy, the patient was walking with assistance at 2 weeks postsurgery. Upper extremity strength, especially intrinsic hand movement, was most severely affected. At 10 months' follow- up, the patient's only deficits were mild intrinsic hand weakness and incoordination with fine finger movements. Immediate surgical exploration is indicated for patients with retained fragments and progressive neurological dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1291-1294
Number of pages4
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1997


  • foramen magnum
  • foreign body
  • penetrating
  • quadriparesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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