Tuberculous spondylitis is a very rare disease, but it can result in bone destruction, kyphotic deformity, spinal instability, and neurologic complications unless early diagnosis and proper management are done. Because the most common symptom of tuberculous spondylitis is back pain, it can often be misdiagnosed. Atypical tuberculous spondylitis can be presented as a metastatic cancer or a primary vertebral tumor. We must make a differential diagnosis through adequate biopsy. A 30-year-old man visited our clinic due to back and chest pain after a recent traffic accident. About 1 year ago, he had successfully recovered from tuberculous pleurisy after taking anti-tuberculosis medication. We performed epidural and intercostal blocks but the pain was not relieved. For the further evaluation, several imaging and laboratory tests were done. Finally, we confirmed tuberculous spondylitis diagnosis with the biopsy results.
back pain; biopsy; differential diagnosis; tuberculous spondylitis
Nowadays, endoscopic techniques are widely used in surgical procedures. Retroperitoneoscopy has been an extremely valuable tool for a wide variety of urologic disorders, whereas, it has limited use in orthopedic procedures.
We performed retroperitoneoscopic drainage (in combination with medical treatment) of complicated psoas abscess on 12 patients with tuberculous spondylitis. All the procedures were done under general anesthesia and in the lateral decubitus position. Psoas abscess was evacuated during procedure, and postoperatively, drainage was continued through a large silastic tube. The definitive diagnosis and the treatment were made based on the results of culture-antibiogram and PCR testing.
Complete clinical and radiologic remission was observed in all patients in 3–6 months. The complication was not observed in any case postoperatively.
Retroperitoneoscopic drainage of psoas abscesses gains advantages in terms of rapid recovery, minimal invasiveness, absence of radiation, and shorter hospital stay. This procedure can be used not only for cold abscesses but also for other pathologies of lumbar vertebral area.
Retroperitoneoscopy; Tuberculous spondylitis; Psoas abscess
Spinal hydatid cyst with thoracic vertebra involvement is rare but serious condition. We present a 63-year old woman with spinal hydatid disease mimicking tuberculous spondylitis. A case study with Computerised Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging diagnostic findings and surgical treatment is reported in this article. Primary spinal hydatid disease should be considered in the differential diagnosis of tuberculous spondylitis in endemic area. Familiarity with typical imaging appearances of spinal hydatid disease may be helpful in making a correct diagnosis and treatment.
Pyogenic spondylitis is a neurological and life threatening condition. It encompasses a broad range of clinical entities, including pyogenic spondylodiscitis, septic discitis, vertebral osteomyelitis, and epidural abscess. The incidence though low appears to be on the rise. The diagnosis is based on clinical, radiological, blood and tissue cultures and histopathological findings. Most of the cases can be treated non-operatively. Surgical treatment is required in 10–20% of patients. Anterior decompression, debridement and fusion are generally recommended and instrumentation is acceptable after good surgical debridement with postoperative antibiotic cover.
We present a case of tuberculous spondylitis in which diagnosis was masked by a concomitant pyogenic infection. The patient had undergone percutaneous needle aspiration of an abscess in the cavity of the psoas muscle. Early results from the culture regimen showed isolation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. After eight weeks, mycobacterium tuberculosis was grown at regimen which was cultured at the same site. Initial isolation of pyogenic bacteria, considered to be highly virulent organisms, led to delayed diagnosis and treatment of the tuberculosis.
Tuberculous spondylitis; Pyogenic spondylitis; Concomitant infection
Percutaneous curettage and continuous irrigation were performed
for definitive diagnosis and treatment of tuberculous (TB) lumbar
spondylitis. Under local anaesthesia, affected lumbar discs were
curetted using a procedure of percutaneous nucleotomy, and in-tube
and the out-tube were placed for continuous irrigation. The period
of continuous irrigation was 12–16 days. Mycobacterium
tuberculosis was demonstrated in case 1 by culture and PCR,
whereas histology showed tuberculous lesion with caseous necrosis
in both cases. Postoperative MRI showed markedly reduced abscesses
after 3 months in both cases. The signal intensity in vertebral
bodies was improved. In Case 2, CT observations showed remodeling
over time in the vertebral body cavities. This method is
advantageous in that although minimally invasive, it achieves
identification of pathogenic bacteria and treatment
simultaneously. This surgical procedure is expected to prove
effective for both TB and pyogenic spondylitis.
To characterize the clinical features, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of uveitis associated with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in Chinese patients.
Two hundred and three patients with uveitis associated with AS followed-up in the Third Military Medical University Daping Hospital between 2005 and 2010 were retrospectively evaluated in this study. Complete ophthalmological examinations were evaluated at baseline and during the follow-up period. The gender, age, follow-up time, mean frequency of uveitis onset, and accompanying eye examination findings, history, demographical parameters were reviewed. All the patients presented complete clinical and radiologic (sacroiliac, lumbar, dorsal and cervical spine, knee, ankle, shoulder, hip, elbow) evaluation. HLA-B27 typing was also searched.
There were 203 patients diagnosed with AS associated uveitis. All showed sacroiliac X-ray changes indicative of AS. There were 184 male and 19 female patients. The average age of patients was 35±12 (range 18–50). Mean follow-up period was 2.4 years (1-5 years). Acute anterior uveitis was the most common type of uveitis in both genders. 121 eyes presented unilateral involvement (55.2%), and 92 eyes presented bilateral involvement (45.3%) with onset alternately. 22 eyes occurred hypopyon, 16 eyes were found anterior vitreous cells, 7 eyes were noted reactive macular edema or exudation, 29 eyes presented posterior synechiae of iris, and 14 eyes presented cataract, 9 eyes presented secondary glaucoma, 2 eyes presented bend corneal degeneration and 1 eyes presented atrophy of eyeball. At the final visit, uveitis was well controlled in most patients.
AS associated with uveitis in Chinese patients mainly manifests as acute anterior uveitis. A combination of corticosteroids with other mydriasis agents is effective for most AS associated with uveitis patients. In general, the prognosis is good in these cases.
HLA-B27; anterior uveitis; acute anterior uveitis; ankylosing spondylitis associated uveitis; HLA-B27 associated uveitis
This is a retrospective study.
We wanted to evaluate the treatment outcomes of performing simultaneous anterior and posterior surgery for patients with tuberculous spondylitis and psoas abscess.
Overview of Literature
Although various treatment options have been used for spinal tuberculosis, there are only a few reports on the treatment of tuberculous spondylitis with psoas abscess.
Between March 1997 and February 2006, we performed operations on 14 cases of tuberculous spondylitis with psoas abscess. All the cases underwent anterior debridement with an interbody bone graft and posterior fusion with using pedicle screws.
Under the Frankel classification, 1 case improved by two grades, 10 cases improved by 1 grade and 3 cases demonstrated no change. The Kirkaldy-Willis functional outcomes were classified as excellent in 10 cases and good in 4. One year after surgery, bony union was confirmed in all 14 cases. The mean kyphotic angle of the spinal lesion was 12.4° and the mean lordotic angle at the final follow-up was 6.4°. Postoperative complications (superficial wound infections) were encountered in 2 cases.
Our results demonstrate that anterior debridement with interbody bone grafting and posterior instrumented fusion can provide satisfactory results for treating tuberculous spondylitis with psoas abscess in patients with neurological deficits.
Tuberculous spondylitis; Psoas abscess; Neurological deficit; Anterior and posterior surgery
Multiple aspergillus spondylitis (AS) is a life threatening infection that occurs more commonly in immunocompromised patients, and is commonly treated with antifungal agents. However, there is relatively little information available on the treatment of multiple AS. The authors encountered a 46-year-old man suffering from low back and neck pain with radiculomyelopathy after a liver transplant. The patient had concomitant multiple AS in the cervico-thoraco-lumbar spine and right hip joint, as confirmed by radiologic imaging studies. The pathological examination of a biopsy specimen revealed fungal hyphae at the cervical and lumbar spine. Anterior decompression and interbody fusion were performed for the cervical and lumbar lesions, which showed instability and related neurological symptoms. Additional antifungal therapy was also performed. The patient was treated successfully with remission of his symptoms.
Multiple spondylitis; Aspergillus; Immunocompromised
We describe the case of a 61-year-old female patient who presented with spondylitis of the lumbar spine. Although the microbiological cultures of the bone biopsy specimens obtained during laminotomy remained negative, the patient was treated with broad-spectrum antimicrobials for 2 months. Eight months later she started to suffer from pain and tenderness in her sternum and the medial portion of her left clavicle. The findings of computed tomography and gallium-labelled isotope scan were indicative of sternoclavicular arthritis. Again, all surgically obtained biopsy specimens yielded negative results in microbiological studies. The diagnosis of the SAPHO (synovitis, acne, pustulosis, hyperostosis, and osteomyelitis) syndrome was then made based on the clinical presentation with recurrent sterile osteitis in two characteristic locations, and the patient was started on immunosuppressive therapy. This case is a reminder that SAPHO may sometimes occur without any skin manifestations. Since this type of patient may be admitted to an orthopedic ward, it is important that orthopedic surgeons are familiar with the syndrome.
SAPHO; Aseptic spondylitis
OBJECTIVE—In 1971 McEwen and colleagues suggested that the radiological changes of classic ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and the changes of the spondylitis associated with inflammatory bowel disease differ in several respects from the radiological features of psoriatic and reactive spondylitis. The findings of this study have never been confirmed. The aim of this study was to replicate the McEwen study comparing films blinded to diagnostic group.
METHODS—The study population comprised 91 patients with classic AS, 15 patients with regional enteritis, 16 patients with ulcerative colitis, five patients with sexually acquired reactive arthritis, two with post-dysenteric arthritis, and 34 with psoriatic arthritis. Blinded reading of spinal radiographs was undertaken, scoring for severity, symmetry, paravertebral ossification, size of syndesmophytes, ligamentous calcification, squaring, discitis, pseudo-fractures, zygoapophyseal joint involvement, and complete ankylosis.
RESULTS—Comparison of the four groups—classic, enteropathic, psoriatic, and reactive AS— showed differences with respect to symmetry of sacroiliitis, symmetry of lumbar spinal involvement, and frequency and size of syndesmophytes. Zygoapophyseal joint involvement was more frequent in the lumbar spine in classic and enteropathic spondylitis but no between group differences were found with respect to symphisitis, squaring, apophyseal joint involvement and ligamentous calcification in the lumbar spine, and other areas.
CONCLUSIONS—Some of the radiological differences described by McEwen et al, notably the asymmetry, the less severe changes, and the distinctive syndesmophytes in psoriasis, have been confirmed. A number of hypotheses are proposed to explain these differences including biomechanical, biochemical, and genetic factors.
Keywords: psoriatic arthritis; ankylosing spondylitis; reactive arthritis; inflammatory bowel disease
A study was made, in co-operation with several gastroenterology and rheumatology centres, of the clinical and genetic characteristics (HLA B27) of 50 patients suffering from both inflammatory bowel disease (38 Crohn's disease (CD), 12 ulcerated colitis (UC)) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS), the latter diagnosis being established according to the New York criteria. 20 CD (52.6%) and 8 UC (66.7%) patients were HLA B27 positive. The presence of HLA B27 was studied in relation to clinical parameters, such as first occurrence of symptoms of AS or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a history of peripheral arthritis, iridocyclitis, and a positive history of AS or IBD. Our patients were found to have heterogeneous clinical features: on one side of the spectrum a group of cases was distingiushed with the typical characteristics of idiopathic AS, often being HLA B27 positive. On the other side a smaller group of HLA B27 negative patients was observed, with severe intestinal inflammatory pathology, lacking most of the typical clinical features of idiopathic AS ('secondary' form of AS). Finally, between these two extremes a group of patients was found with less pronounced clinical or genetic characteristics. These different clinical and histocompatibility patterns suggest a mixed aetiopathogenesis of AS in IBD patients. Such a 'syndrome' of AS might harbour both idiopathic AS and forms of AS 'secondary' to the intestinal inflammatory pathology.
A retrospective study.
We evaluated the results of the use of anterior debridement and interbody fusion followed by posterior spinal instrumentation.
Overview of Literature
An early diagnosis of pyogenic spondylitis is difficult to obtain. The disease can be treated with various surgical methods (such as anterior debridement and bone graft, anterior instrumentation, and posterior instrumentation).
This study included 20 patients who received anterior debridement and interbody fusion with strut bone graft followed by posterior spinal fusion for pyogenic spondylitis between 1996 and 2005. We analyzed the culture studies, the correction of the kyphotic angle, blood chemistry, the bony union period, and the amount of symptom relief.
In terms of clinical symptoms relief, eight patients were grouped as "excellent", eleven patients as "good", and one patient as "fair". The vertebral body cultures were positive in 14 patients showing coagulase (-) streptococcus and S. aureus. The average times for normalization of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein level were 3.3 and 1.9 months, respectively. Four months was required for bony union. For complications, meralgia paresthetica was found in two
Due to early ambulation and the correction of the kyphotic angle, anterior interbody fusion with strut bone graft and posterior instrumentation could be another favorable method for the treatment of pyogenic spondyulitis.
Pyogenic spondylitis; Anterior interbody fusion; Posterior instrumentation
In a population survey of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) seven subjects, six males and one female, had x-ray changes in the lumbar spine typical of AS but without concomitant roentgenological sacroiliitis. The overall prevalence of such cases in the population studied was 0.37%. Four out of these seven subjects carried the tissue antigen HLA-B27 (57%). The clinical and roentgenological features of these subjects are described and it is suggested that the x-ray findings represent a mild and variant form of primary or definite AS.
An accepted comprehensive clinical approach to the deformed spine with tuberculous infection is still lacking. We aimed to determine the usage of a staged algorithm in the treatment of kyphotic spine with tuberculous infection and to present the clinical results of the patients treated with the help of this protocol.
Materials and Methods:
54 patients (28 females, 26 males) with a mean age of 39.2 (22-76) years. Preoperative, early postoperative, and followup clinical and radiologic results were evaluated retrospectively. The patients were classified into Kaplan A (kyphotic deformity <30°), Kaplan B (kyphotic deformity 30°-60°) and Kaplan C (kyphotic deformity >60°). They were operated by posterior instrument with anterior debridment (Kaplan A), debridment with anterior bone grafting (Kaplan B) and anterior column resection and bone grafting in Kaplan C.
Tuberculous involvement were seen at more than one level in 40 patients and paraspinal abscess were detected in 31. Preoperative focal kyphotic deformity was reconstructed with an average of 19 (9-38) degrees. Twenty-six patients had neurologic compromise with different severities and 12 of them improved after the surgical intervention. Improvement in work ability and pain status was detected in 52% and 61% of the patients, respectively. Wound complications responding to medical care were detected in nine patients. Initial kyphotic deformity was found as an important parameter in selecting the surgical procedure.
Regarding resected amount of infected osseous material, as planned preoperatively, have resulted with better concordance between anterior and posterior column heights and better sagittal alignment. We could correct kyphosis and improve sagittal balance with staged algorithm as used by us.
Debridement; kyphosis in tuberculous spondylitis; tuberculous spondylitis
Postoperative infections following spine surgery are usually attributable to bacterial organisms. Staphylococcus aureus is known to be the most common single pathogen leading to this infection, and the number of infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is increasing. However, there is a paucity of literature addressing postoperative infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We encountered a case of tuberculous spondylitis after spine surgery. A man had fever with low back pain three weeks after posterior interbody fusion with instrumentation for a herniated intervertebral disc at the L4-L5 level. He had been treated with antibiotics for an extended period of time under the impression that he had a bacterial infection, but his symptoms and laboratory data had not improved. Polymerase chain reaction for Mycobacterium tuberculosis turned out to be positive. The patient's symptoms finally improved when he was treated with antituberculosis medication.
Spine; Postoperative infection; Tuberculous spondylitis
In the last decade a significant rise in the prevalence of tuberculosis as well as in its extrapulmonary manifestations is detected worldwide. The central nervous system, the genitourinary tract, the organs of the abdomen and the skeletal system, are common sites of infection. Misdiagnosis and delay in treatment are common events. Herein, we present a case of a 78-year-old man non-smoker, with miliary tuberculosis complicated with tuberculous spondylitis. The patient presented with anemia and a left shoulder pain, accompanied by rigor and fever 37.5°C-38°C of one month duration. This entity is extremely rare, since only two similar cases have been reported in the English literature according to PubMed search.
Surgical treatment for spinal tuberculosis is necessary in particular cases that a large amount of necrotic tissue is encountered and there is spinal cord compression. A spinal shortening osteotomy procedure has previously been described for the correction of the sagittal balance in a late kyphotic deformity, but there have been no reports on this as a surgical treatment in the acute stage. Thus, the aim of this report is to present the surgical techniques and clinical results of 3 patients who were treated with this procedure. Three patients with tuberculous spondylitis at the thoracic spine were surgically treated with this procedure. All the patients presented with severe progressive back pain, kyphotic deformity and neurological deficit. The patients recovered uneventfully from surgery without further neurological deterioration. Their pain was improved and the patients remained free of pain during the follow-up period. In conclusion, posterior spinal shortening osteotomy is an alternative method for the management of tuberculous spondylitis.
Tuberculosis; TB spine; Shortening osteotomy; Surgical treatment
This is a retrospective series.
We wanted to analyze the safety and effectiveness of using the newer generation metallic implants (pedicle screws and/or titanium mesh) for the treatment of tuberculous spondylitis.
Overview of the Literature
There have been various efforts to prevent the development of a kyphotic deformity after the treatment of tuberculous spondylitis, including instrumentation of the spine. Pedicle screws and titanium mesh cages have become more and more popular for treating various spinal problems.
Twenty two patients who had tuberculous spondylitis were treated with anterior radical debridement and their anterior column of spine was supported with a tricortical iliac bone graft (12 patients) or by mesh (10 patients). Supplementary posterior pedicle screw instrumentation was performed in 17 of 22 patients. The combination of surgeries were anterior strut bone grafting and posterior pedicle screws in 12 patients, anterior titanium mesh and posterior pedicle screws in 5 patients and anterior mesh only without pedicle screws in 5 patients. The patients were followed up with assessing the laboratory inflammatory parameters, the serial plain radiographs and the neurological recovery.
The erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein levels were eventually normalized and there was no case of persistent infection or failure to control infection in spite of a mettalic implant in situ. The overall correction of kyphotic deformity was initially 8.9 degrees, and the loss of correction was 6.2 degrees. In spite of some loss of correction, this technique effectively prevented clinically significant kyphotic deformity. The preoperative Frankel grades were B for 1 patient, C for 4, D for 4 and E for 13. At the final follow-up, 7 of 9 patients recovered completely to Frankel grade E and only two patients showed a Frankel grade of D.
Stabilizing the spine with pedicle screws and/or titanium mesh in patients with tubercuous spondylitis effectively prevents the development of kyphotic deformity and this did not prevent controlling infection when this technique was combined with radical debridement and anti-tuberculous chemotherapy.
Tuberculous spondylitis; Pedicle screw; Titanium mesh
With the advancement of instrumentation and minimally access techniques in the field of spine surgery, good surgical decompression and instrumentation can be done for tuberculous spondylitis with known advantage of MIS (minimally invasive surgery). The aim of this study was to assess the outcome of the minimally invasive techniques in the surgical treatment of patients with tuberculous spondylodiscitis.
Materials and Methods:
23 patients (Group A) with a mean age 38.2 years with single-level spondylodiscitis between T4-T11 treated with video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) involving anterior debridement and fusion and 15 patients (Group B) with a mean age of 32.5 years who underwent minimally invasive posterior pedicle screw instrumentation and mini open posterolateral debridement and fusion were included in study. The study was conducted from Mar 2003 to Dec 2009 duration. The indication of surgery was progressive neurological deficit and/or instability. The patients were evaluated for blood loss, duration of surgery, VAS scores, improvement in kyphosis, and fusion status. Improvement in neurology was documented and functional outcome was judged by oswestry disability index (ODI).
The mean blood loss in Group A (VATS category) was 780 ml (330-1180 ml) and the operative time averaged was 228 min (102-330 min). The average preoperative kyphosis in Group A was 38° which was corrected to 30°. Twenty-two patients who underwent VATS had good fusion (Grade I and Grade II) with failure of fusion in one. Complications occurred in seven patients who underwent VATS. The mean blood loss was 625 ml (350-800 ml) with an average duration of surgery of 255 min (180-345 min) in the percutaneous posterior instrumentation group (Group B). The average preoperative segmental (kyphosis) Cobb's angle of three patients with thoracic TB in Group B was 41.25° (28-48°), improved to 14.5°(11°- 21°) in the immediate postoperative period (71.8% correction). The average preoperative segmental kyphosis in another 12 patients in Group B with lumbar tuberculosis of 20.25° improved to –12.08° of lordosis with 32.33° average correction of deformity. Good fusion (Grade I and Grade II) was achieved in 14 patients and Grade III fusion in 1 patient in Group B. One patient suffered with pseudoarthrosis/doubtful fusion with screw loosening in the percutaneous group.
Good fusion rate with encouraging functional results can be obtained in caries spine with minimally invasive techniques with all the major advantages of a minimally invasive procedures including reduction in approach-related morbidity.
Minimally invasive spine surgery; tuberculous spondylodiscitis; video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery
A case of the cauda equina syndrome complicating ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is described. An unusual feature of this case was the relapsing and remitting nature of the condition, but there is sufficient evidence to explain the clinical picture on the basis of a recurrent intraspinal inflammatory process. The clinical and radiological features are similar to those of a further 28 reported in the literature. An electromyogram (EMG) proved important in defining the extent of neurological involvement. Computerised tomography (CT) showed marked laminar erosion and no bony exit foramen encroachment. We believe that the clinical diagnosis of this condition can be adequately confirmed with plain radiology, EMG, and CT scan.
In this study, the evaluation of the clinical, laboratory and radiological findings belonging to 55 cases that were hospitalized in our clinic to be followed-up and were diagnosed with tuberculous, brucellar and pyogenic spondylodiscitis (SD) was aimed.
Materials and Methods:
The cases with SD were evaluated retrospectively. Hematological, serological, biochemical laboratory tests and imaging technics were used for diagnosis.
Of 55 cases aged ranging between 25 to 79, 33 (59%) were female. The cases with tuberculous SD (TBSD), brucellar SD (BSD) and pyogenic SD (PSD) were found in 24 (43%), 12 (21%) and in 19 (34%) patients. Erytrocyte sedimentation rate, increased C-reactive protein, and leucocytosis were present in 51 (91%), 22 (39%) and 8 (14%) cases. The number of the cases with history of previous surgery or trauma was 14 (25%). Diagnosis of TBSD was established by acid fast bacilli positiveness and Löwenstein Jensen culture positiveness, in two and seven patients, respectively. While all 12 cases with BSD had positive standard tube aglutination test, only 3 (25%) had hemoculture positivity. In PSDs, diagnosis was confirmed with culture positivity in 9 of 19 cases.Of the cases in our study, 89% responded to medical treatment while three required surgery and three died (5.5% and 5.5%, respectively).
SD may develop secondary to infections or following spinal surgical procedures and traumas. Also, the importance of endemicity should be kept in mind, beside the helpful diagnostic findings while treatment regulation.
Brucellosis; pyogenic spondylodiscitis; spondylodiscitis; tuberculosis; vertebral osteomyelitisIntroduction
Salmonella spondylitis is a rare illness, and it generally occurs in patients who have already had sickle cell anemia, and it is even rarer in patients who are without sickle cell anemia. A 61-year-old male patient was hospitalized for the evaluation of his renal function and then treatment was started for his back pain. His back pain had developed about 2 months previously without any specific trauma. Only a bulging disc was detected on the initial lumbar MRI. Regarding his fever, it was diagnosed as possible atypical pneumonia, scrub typhus, etc., and multiple antibiotic therapy was administered. At the time of transfer, the leucocytes and hs-CRP were normal and the ESR was elevated. A diagnostic epidural block was performed for his back pain, but his symptoms were not improved. Lumbar MRI was performed again and it showed findings of infective spondylitis. Salmonella D was identified on the abscess culture and so he was diagnosed as suffering from Salmonella spondylitis. After antibiotic treatment, his back pain was improved and the patient was able to walk.
Back pain; Salmonella; Spondylitis
Ninety-two patients who satisfied the criteria proposed by Kellgren for the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis were re-evaluated by clinical, radiological and laboratory parameters after an average length of illness of 18.7 years. The following associated clinical lesions were studied: aortic insufficiency 8%, heart block 3%, iritis 11%, and other associated lesions. Long-term effects of x-ray therapy were evaluated by comparing irradiated and non-irradiated patients; no significant difference was noted in the clinical course of these two treatment groups. On serum protein electrophoresis no characteristic dysproteinemia was demonstrated; in no instance was there a marked hypergammaglobulinemia. Test results for rheumatoid factor, antinuclear factor and antithyroglobulin were all within the range expected for a normal population. In addition to bilateral sacroiliitis, several other characteristic radiological lesions, such as anterior spondylitis, were present in a high percentage of cases. It is suggested that the diagnostic criteria proposed by Kellgren, although useful, should be enlarged and refined.
Cervical spine fractures in patients with ankylosing spondylitis are serious and potentially lethal injuries with high complication rates. Treatment obstacles include long lever arms that generate large forces on any fixation device, osteoporosis, and, usually, kyphotic deformity. The Olerud Cervical Fixation System (OC), with cervical pedicle screws and rods, offers an opportunity to create a biomechanically stable posterior fixation in these complicated cases. The present study is a retrospective chart review and a radiological follow-up of patients with this diagnosis, treated at our department between 1995 and 2000. Nineteen patients (two women) with a mean age of 60 years (32–78 years) were included. The fracture levels were predominantly C5–C6 (five patients) and C6–C7 (five patients). All patients were treated with a long posterior fixation with the OC, and in four patients this was combined with an anterior plate fixation. One patient with severe lordosis also received a short posterior plate fixation. The patients’ notes and plain radiographs have been reviewed. Five patients died during the post-operative follow-up period; the others had a mean follow-up time of 24 months (10–55 months). Eleven patients had no neurological deficits preoperatively. One of them developed moderate weakness in his right arm, postoperatively, due to a misplaced pedicle screw in the right pedicle of C5. However, after extraction of the screw he almost totally recovered in 6 months. Eight patients had neurological deficits. Two were paraplegic; two had motor weakness combined with sensory deficiency, and four had a sensory deficiency. Two of the patients with neurological deficits improved postoperatively, but the others were unchanged. Peroperative problems were recorded in five patients; one C6 pedicle was perforated, and two patients had pedicles on one or more levels that the surgeon was not able to probe. In one of the latter patients, transfacet screws were chosen, instead, for one of the levels. Extensive peroperative bleeding was encountered in two patients. One deep-wound infection was noted, postoperatively, and required surgical drainage, but no patients have been re-operated due to loosening of the instrument or to healing problems. In conclusion, the results of the present study indicate that the OC—and possibly other similar long-fixation systems that allow using both pedicle screws and lateral mass screws rigidly connected to a rod—is suited for treating subaxial cervical spine fractures in patients with ankylosing spondylitis, allowing high healing rates.
Spinal fusion; Spinal fracture; Fracture fixation; Cervical vertebrae; Ankylosing spondylitis