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Surg Neurol. 1990 Apr;33(4):266-75.

Diagnosis and management of pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis in adults.

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Department of Surgery, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City 52242.


Management of vertebral osteomyelitis remains controversial regarding optimum duration of antibiotic therapy and the role of surgery. Forty adults with vertebral osteomyelitis were reviewed. Staphylococcus aureus was the most common pathogen isolated. Disk space narrowing with end-plate erosion was the earliest finding, followed by progressive vertebral body destruction. Magnetic resonance imaging proved extremely valuable in detecting spinal cord compression in patients with neurologic deficit. Treatment should include at least 8 weeks of intravenous antibiotics combined with immobilization for pain reduction. Surgical intervention is indicated for all patients with neurologic deficit. Serial erythrocyte sedimentation rates are valuable for following response to therapy. The value of magnetic resonance imaging in diagnosis is emphasized.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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