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Eur Spine J. 2003 Apr;12(2):224-34. Epub 2002 Sep 13.

Anterior radical debridement and anterior instrumentation in tuberculosis spondylitis.

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1st Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Ankara Social Security Hospital, Ankara, Turkey.


The conventional procedure in the treatment of vertebral tuberculosis is drainage of the abscess, curettage of the devitalized vertebra and application of an antituberculous chemotherapy regimen. Posterior instrumentation results are encouraging in the prevention or treatment of late kyphosis; however, a second-stage operation is needed. Recently, posterolateral or transpedicular drainage without anterior drainage or posterior instrumentation following anterior drainage in the same session has become the preferred treatment, in order that kyphotic deformity can be avoided. Information on the use of anterior instrumentation along with radical debridement and fusion is scarce. This study reports on the surgical results of 63 patients with Pott's disease who underwent anterior radical debridement with anterior fusion and anterior instrumentation (23 patients with Z-plate and 40 patients with CDH system). Average age at the time of operation was 46.8+/-13.4 years. Average duration of follow-up was 50.9+/-12.9 months. Local kyphosis was measured preoperatively, postoperatively and at the last follow-up visit as the angle between the upper and lower end plates of the collapsed vertebrae. Vertebral collapse, destruction, cold abscess, and canal compromise were assessed on magnetic resonance (MR) images. It was observed that the addition of anterior instrumentation increased the rate of correction of the kyphotic deformity (79.7+/-20.1%), and was effective in maintaining it, with an average loss of 1.1 degrees +/-1.7 degrees. Of the 25 patients (39.7%) with neurological symptoms, 20 (80%) had full and 4 (16%) partial recoveries. There were very few intraoperative and postoperative complications (major vessel complication: 3.2%; secondary non-specific infection: 3.2%). Disease reactivation was not seen with the employment of an aggressive chemotherapy regimen. It was concluded that anterior instrumentation is a safe and effective method in the treatment of tuberculosis spondylitis.

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