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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2008 Apr 15;33(8):E268-71. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31816b8831.

Delayed migration of a screw into the gastrointestinal tract after anterior cervical spine plating.

Author information

1
Department of Neurosurgery, San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital, Rome, Italy. robertogazzeri@gmail.com

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

Case report and clinical discussion.

OBJECTIVE:

To describe a rare case of spinal cervical screw migration into the gastrointestinal tract 11 years after surgery.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:

Anterior cervical spine fusion and stabilization with plating is a well-established procedure for cervical myelopathy, cervical spinal trauma, and spinal infectious disease. Esophageal injury has been related to screw or plate extrusion.

METHODS:

We present a 45-year-old white man suffering from severe quadriparesis and neck pain. Cervical spine magnetic resonance images showed spondylodiscitis and spinal fracture of C4 and C5 vertebral bodies. He underwent anterior surgical decompression consisting of C4 and C5 corpectomies and fusion with fibular allograft fixated with a cervical plate. The patient's neurologic examination gradually improved during his follow-up.

RESULTS:

The patient returned 11 years after cervical spine graft and plating, complaining of severe dysphagia and high fever. Radiographs of the cervical spine showed a screw back-out. Three days later, a new radiograph of the cervical spine revealed a progression of the screw's extrusion. In a new cervical spine radiograph, obtained immediately before surgical intervention, the displaced screw was no more visible. Abdominal radiograph showed the missed screw in the right lower abdominal quadrant. Barium meal swallowing test showed no leakage on the cervical area. At 6 months follow-up, the patient is in good condition and symptom free.

CONCLUSION:

In this case, the delayed esophageal perforation occurred 11 years after initial surgery: the rapid progression of the screw extrusion after initial pull-out (6 days) was documented by several radiographs and spontaneous closure of the fistula was achieved.

PMID:
18404097
DOI:
10.1097/BRS.0b013e31816b8831
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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