Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2012; 16 (2 Suppl): 79-85

Surgical treatment of tuberculous spondylodiscitis

E. Pola, B. Rossi, L.A. Nasto, D. Colangelo, C.A. Logroscino

Division of Spinal Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, School of Medicine, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome (Italy)


Background: Most patients affected by spinal tuberculosis can be successfully treated conservatively with chemotherapy, external bracing and prolonged rest. Nevertheless, kyphotic deformity, spinal instability and neurological deficit remain a common complication associated with conservative approach.

Aim: To illustrate different indications and treatment modalities for tuberculous spondylodiscitis, focusing on the role of surgery as an adjuvant of effective chemotherapy in the management of selected patients.

Materials and Methods: Various early and late surgical procedures are recommended to treat spinal tuberculosis. The Authors analyzed surgical indications, approaches, complications and outcomes comparing their experience with available Literature.

Results: Conservative management is preferable in patients without vertebral instability and deformity; in presence of abscesses, invasive radiological techniques in combination with abscess drainage and chemotherapy are recommended. In patients with vertebral collapse, kyphotic deformity or abscess formation, vertebral instability or neurological deficits, anterior radical debridement, anterior strut grafting and anterior instrumentation is an optimal standardized procedure. In patients with involvement of more than two vertebral levels or lumbosacral junction and in those whose sagittal alignment is markedly deformed with segmental kyphosis, and in patients who have difficulty in undergoing anterior instrumentation, posterior instrumentation is recommended in combination with anterior radical debridement and anterior strut grafting in one or two staged procedures.

Conclusions: Since surgery for spinal tuberculosis is demanding, it should be performed only after taking into account the risks and benefits in operable patients. Various surgical procedures are recommended to treat spinal tuberculosis but the common goals are to eradicate the infection and to prevent or to treat neurologic deficits or spinal deformity.

Corresponding Author: Enrico Pola, MD, PhD; e-mail: enrico.pola@rm.unicatt.it

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To cite this article

E. Pola, B. Rossi, L.A. Nasto, D. Colangelo, C.A. Logroscino
Surgical treatment of tuberculous spondylodiscitis

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Year: 2012
Vol. 16 - N. 2 Suppl
Pages: 79-85