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[Surgical treatment of spondylodiscitis]

J Vcelák, L Tóth
Acta Chirurgiae Orthopaedicae et Traumatologiae Cechoslovaca 2008, 75 (2): 110-6

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: Surgical treatment of spondylodiscitis is associated with many complications and raises a number of issues for discussion. The aim of the study was to evaluate a group of patients who had undergone surgery for inflammation of the spine, and to discuss the optimal operative procedure.

MATERIAL: Between January 2000 and February 2005, a total of 81 patients were treated at our department for pyogenic or tuberculous spondylodiscitis. Of these, 31 (11 women and 20 men) underwent surgery. Patients treated by CT-guided abscess drainage puncture with antibiotic therapy were not included. Indications for surgery included neurological deficit in 20 patients, deformity or mechanic instability in six, and progressing septic condition in three patients.

METHODS: Simple decompression of nerve structures from the posterior approach, combined with drainage, was performed in seven patients, revision surgery from the posterior approach and fusion completed with suction drainage was done in five, anterior radical debridement and stabilization of the anterior column by replacement of the vertebral body was performed in 15 patients, and an anterior procedure completed with posterior instrumentation and fusion was carried out in four patients. The patients were followed up and evaluated at 3, 6 and 12 months post-operatively.

RESULTS: Improvement in neurological deficit by one or more Frankel grades was recorded in 30 % of the patients treated by posterior decompression and suction drainage, and in 83 % of the patients undergoing anterior debridement and stabilization. Further progression of deep infection requiring revision surgery and implant removal occurred in one patient. Clinical outcomes assessed as good or satisfactory were found in 68 % and poor results were in 32 % of the patients.

DISCUSSION: The selection of an optimal surgical procedure in spondylodiscitis depends on the primary localization of infectious lesions. In a typical anterior form of spondylodiscitis, anterior debridement and suction drainage are preferred. Reconstruction of the anterior spinal column in the presence of major destruction, and stabilization of an infected spine still remain challenging issues.

CONCLUSIONS: Radical debridement with deformity correction and segmental stabilization provide an efficient method of treatment for the most frequent anterior forms of pyogenic and tuberculous spondylodiscitis. The use of titan implants does not significantly increase the risk of persistent infection or its recurrence.

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