How common is a spinal hematoma?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Spinal hematoma, specifically spinal epidural hematoma (SEH), is a relatively rare condition. It occurs in approximately 0.1 per 100,000 patients per year, making it a relatively uncommon medical occurrence [1].

SEH is more commonly observed in males, with a male-to-female ratio of 3:1. The condition primarily affects individuals in the age group of 42-52 years old [1]. These demographics give us a glimpse into the specific population that is more susceptible to developing SEH.

It is important to note that while SEH is considered rare, it can still have significant implications for those affected. The condition involves the accumulation of blood in the epidural space surrounding the spinal cord, which can lead to compression and subsequent damage to the spinal cord. This can result in symptoms such as back pain, weakness, numbness, and even paralysis, depending on the severity and location of the hematoma.

One possible reason for the relatively low incidence of SEH could be attributed to the fact that the epidural space is relatively small compared to other areas of the body, making it less prone to significant bleeding. Additionally, trauma or injury to the spine is often a contributing factor to the development of SEH, and not all individuals are exposed to such circumstances.

While SEH may be rare, it is crucial for healthcare professionals to be aware of its possibility, especially when evaluating patients with spinal cord-related symptoms following trauma or other predisposing factors. Prompt diagnosis and intervention are essential for optimizing outcomes in individuals with SEH.

Spinal epidural hematoma is a relatively uncommon condition, occurring in approximately 0.1 per 100,000 patients per year. It primarily affects males in the age group of 42-52 years old. While SEH may be rare, its potential impact on spinal cord function necessitates vigilant consideration and prompt management when evaluating patients with relevant symptoms.