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Anterior debridement and fusion followed by posterior pedicle screw fixation in pyogenic spondylodiscitis: autologous iliac bone strut versus cage

Yong Hun Pee, Jong Dae Park, Young-Geun Choi, Sang-Ho Lee
Journal of Neurosurgery. Spine 2008, 8 (5): 405-12

OBJECT: An anterior approach for debridement and fusion with autologous bone graft has been recommended as the gold standard for surgical treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis. The use of anterior foreign body implants at the site of active infection is still a challenging procedure for spine surgeons. Several authors have recently introduced anterior grafting with titanium mesh cages instead of autologous bone strut in the treatment of spondylodiscitis. The authors present their experience of anterior fusion with 3 types of cages followed by posterior pedicle screw fixation. They also compare their results with the use of autologous iliac bone strut.

METHODS: The authors retrospectively reviewed the cases of 60 patients with pyogenic spondylodiscitis treated by anterior debridement between January 2003 and April 2005. Fusion using either cages or iliac bone struts was performed during the same course of anesthesia followed by posterior fixation. Twenty-three patients underwent fusion with autologous iliac bone strut, and 37 patients underwent fusion with 1 of the 3 types of cages.

RESULTS: The infections resolved in all patients, as noted by normalization of their erythrocyte sedimentation rates and C-reactive protein levels. Patients in both groups were evaluated in terms of their preoperative and postoperative clinical and imaging findings.

CONCLUSIONS: Single-stage anterior debridement and cage fusion followed by posterior pedicle screw fixation can be effective in the treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis. There was no difference in clinical and imaging outcomes between the strut group and cage group except for the subsidence rate. The subsidence rate was higher in the strut group than in the cage group. The duration until subsidence was also shorter in the strut group than in the cage group.

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