Christoph E. Heyde, Heinrich Boehm, Hesham El Saghir, Sven K. Tschöke, Ralph Kayser

August 2006, Volume 15, Issue 9, pp 1380 - 1387 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-006-0191-z

First Online: 26 July 2006

Cervical spine spondylodiscitis is a rare, but serious manifestation of spinal infection. We present a retrospective study of 20 consecutive patients between 01/1994 and 12/1999 treated because of cervical spondylodiscitis. Mean age at the time of treatment was 59.7 (range 34–81) years, nine of them female. In all cases, diagnosis had been established with a delay. All patients in this series underwent surgery such as radical debridement, decompression if necessary, autologous bone grafting and instrumentation. Surgery was indicated if a neurological deficit, symptoms of sepsis, epidural abscess formation with consecutive stenosis, instability or severe deformity were present. Postoperative antibiotic therapy was carried out for 8–12 weeks. Follow-up examinations were performed a mean of 37 (range 24–63) months after surgery. Healing of the inflammation was confirmed in all cases by laboratory, clinical and radiological parameters. Spondylodesis was controlled radiologically and could be achieved in all cases. One case showed a 15°kyphotic angle in the proximal adjacent segment. Spontaneous bony bridging of the proximal adjacent segment was observed in one patient. In the other cases the adjacent segments radiologically showed neither fusion nor infection related changes. Preoperative neurological deficits improved in all cases. Residual neurological deficits persisted in three of eight cases. The results indicate that spondylodiscitis in cervical spine should be treated early and aggressive to avoid local and systemic complications.

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