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Spine J. 2008 Sep-Oct;8(5):827-30. Epub 2007 Jun 21.

Acute cervical osteomyelitis and prevertebral abscess after routine tonsillectomy.

Author information

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA. alpesh2@gmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND CONTEXT:

Tonsillectomy is among the most commonly performed surgical procedures. The development of severe infection after tonsillectomy is a very rare but potentially fatal complication that has not been described in the orthopedic, neurosurgical, or spine literature.

PURPOSE:

To present acute cervical osteomyelitis and prevertebral abscess formation as a complication of a routine tonsillectomy.

STUDY DESIGN:

Case report, literature review.

METHODS:

A case report was prepared on the clinical and radiographic data of a patient presenting with prevertebral abscess and acute cervical osteomyelitis 6 weeks after routine tonsillectomy. A review of relevant literature was additionally performed.

RESULTS:

The patient presented 6 weeks after tonsillectomy with evidence of a deep cervical infection. Operative debridement with anterior and posterior surgical stabilization was performed. The patient completed a 6-week course of intravenous antibiotics. At 24-month follow-up, the patient showed no signs of infection and demonstrated a stable fusion mass.

CONCLUSIONS:

The development of prevertebral abscess and acute cervical osteomyelitis has been discussed in a small number of otolaryngology case reports and has not been previously reported in the orthopedic, neurosurgical, or spine literature. Symptoms may be nonspecific, and so a high index of clinical suspicion is needed. Delay in treatment may lead to significant morbidity and even mortality. Successful treatment can be obtained through operative debridement and intravenous antibiotic therapy.

PMID:
17697802
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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