Lead Toxicity From Intradiscal Retained Bullet Fragment: Management Considerations and Recommendations
BACKGROUND: Lead toxicity (plumbism) secondary to retained lead missiles in synovial joint spaces is a rare complication after gunshot injuries. Management of lead missiles in the intradiscal space regarding potential lead toxicity is less certain. CASE DESCRIPTION: We reviewed the literature regarding lead toxicity secondary to intradiscal bullets particularly concerning incidence, management, and outcomes. A lack of high-quality published data precludes a meta-analysis from taking place. Only four reports of lead toxicity secondary to missiles in the intradiscal space have been published. Including an additional case presented in this report, our review of the literature has led us to make several management recommendations, largely based on both the available literature and our current report. CONCLUSIONS: First, there is insufficient evidence for removing retained lead missiles solely to mitigate the risk of lead toxicity. Second, chelation therapy in addition to surgical removal of the lead source is a valuable adjunct in the perioperative period and should be undertaken with the assistance of medical toxicology. Third, a retained missile does not mandate a simultaneous stabilization procedure in lieu of other indications based on the data available at this time.
Towner, J. E., Pieters, T. A., & Maurer, P. K. (2020). Lead Toxicity From Intradiscal Retained Bullet Fragment: Management Considerations and Recommendations. World neurosurgery, 141, 377-382. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.05.112