Who Needs Surgical Stabilization for Pyogenic Spondylodiscitis? Retrospective Analysis of Non-Surgically Treated Patients

Ronen Blecher, Sven Frieler, Bilal Qutteineh, Clifford A. Pierre, Emre Yilmaz, Basem Ishak, Alexander Von Glinski, Rod J. Oskouian, Moti Kramer, Michael Drexler, Jens R. Chapman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Scopus citations


    Study Design: Retrospective case series analysis. Objective: To identify relevant clinical and radiographic markers for patients presenting with infectious spondylo-discitis associated with spinal instability directly related to the infectious process. Methods: We evaluated patients presenting with de-novo intervertebral discitis or vertebral osteomyelitis /discitis (VOD) who initiated non-surgical treatment. Patients who failed conservative treatment and required stabilization surgery within 90 days were defined as “failed treatment group” (FTG). Patients who experienced an uneventful course served as controls and were labeled as “nonsurgical group” (NSG). A wide array of baseline clinical and radiographic parameters was retrieved and compared between 2 groups. Results: Overall 35 patients had initiated non-surgical treatment for VOD. 25 patients had an uneventful course (NSG), while 10 patients failed conservative treatment (“FTG”) within 90 days. Factors found to be associated with poorer outcome were intra-venous drug abuse (IVDA) as well as the presence of fever upon initial presentation. Radiographically, involvement of the same-level facets and the extent of caudal and rostral VB involvement in both MRI and CT were found to be significantly associated with poorer clinical and radiographic outcome. Conclusions: We show that clinical factors such as IVDA status and fever as well as the extent of osseous and posterior element involvement may prove to be helpful in favoring surgical treatment early on in the management of spinal infections.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGlobal Spine Journal
    StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2021


    • infection
    • spondylitis
    • spondylodiscitis

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery
    • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
    • Clinical Neurology


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