Spontaneous spondylodiscitis remains uncommon but is a serious complication of the vertebral column. Risk factors include diabetes, hemodialysis, intravenous drug abuse, and chronic steroid use, and pain is the most common presenting symptom. This study aims to review the literature and report on the incidence, management, and clinical outcome of spontaneous spondylodiscitis in 44 patients.
This is a prospective study including 44 patients with spontaneous spondylodiscitis managed in the neurosurgery department of Cairo University Hospitals during the period between January 2012 and October 2017. All patients had a full clinical assessment, laboratory tests, radiological studies in the form of MRI with and without contrast, and a postoperative follow-up of up to 12 months.
Twelve cases underwent conservative treatment in the form of complete bed rest, intravenous antibiotics, and a spinal brace. Ten cases underwent surgical intervention in the form of laminectomy, debridement, and open biopsy. Twenty-two cases underwent laminectomy and surgical stabilization with fusion. There were 15 cases of tuberculous spondylodiscitis, 6 cases of brucellosis, 6 cases of pyogenic infection, and 17 cases in which no organism could be detected.
Once the primary diagnosis is confirmed, early and adequately prolonged antibiotic therapy is recommended for spontaneous spondylodiscitis. Some cases can be successfully treated with conservative treatment alone, whereas surgery may be needed in other cases such as severe destruction of endplates, spinal abscess formation, mechanical instability, neurological deficits, and severe pain that have failed to respond to conservative treatment.