The role of posterior instrumentation and fusion after anterior radical debridement and fusion in the surgical treatment of spinal tuberculosis: Experience of 127 cases

Talu U., Gogus A., Ozturk C., Hamzaoglu A., Domanic U.

JOURNAL OF SPINAL DISORDERS & TECHNIQUES, vol.19, no.8, pp.554-559, 2006 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Long periods of immobilization, progressive kyphosis and graft failure are the major postoperative problems encountered after anterior radical surgical treatment for tuberculosis of the spine. Posterior fusion and instrumentation can be an effective solution for these problems. Effectiveness of posterior fusion and instrumentation was investigated in this study on the basis of the cases with anterior procedure only, and with combined anterior-posterior procedures. One hundred twenty-seven cases of tuberculosis of the spine were surgically treated between 1987 and 1995. All had either I or more of conditions such as spinal cord compression and neurological deficit, vertebral body collapse and kyphosis, or wide paravertebral abscess unresponsive to medical treatment. Of these, 57 had only anterior radical procedure between the years 1987 and 1993. Seventy cases had posterior instrumentation and fusion after the anterior procedure between the years 1991 and 1995. In about two third of the patients (81) autogenous iliac strut graft and in one third of them (40) autogenous fibular strut graft (cases with more than 2 level involvement) was used along with rib grafts after debridement. Twenty-one of the 57 patients who had only anterior procedure demonstrated a postoperative increase of kyphosis of more than 10 degrees. Increased kyphosis was due to graft slippage in 3, resorption in 2 and subsidence in 16 patients. No such increase or graft failure was noted in cases of combined anterior-posterior procedure. The difference in terms of kyphosis was found to be statistically significant (P = 0.047). Anterior radical debridement and strut graft is the golden standard in the surgical treatment of spinal tuberculosis, but it should always be accompanied by posterior instrumentation and fusion to shorten the immobilization period and hospital stay, obtain good and long lasting correction of kyphosis, and prevent further collapse and graft failure.