Rectocutaneous fistula and nonunion after TranS1 axial lumbar interbody fusion L5–S1 fixation

Case report

Geoffrey SiegelDepartment of Orthopaedics, Wayne State University, Taylor; and

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Nilesh PatelDepartment of Orthopaedics, Wayne State University, Taylor; and
Michigan Orthopaedic Specialists, Canton and Dearborn, Michigan

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Rakesh RamakrishnanDepartment of Orthopaedics, Wayne State University, Taylor; and

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The authors report a case of rectal injury, rectocutaneous fistula, and pseudarthrosis after a TranS1 axial lumbar interbody fusion (AxiaLIF) L5–S1 fixation. The TranS1 AxiaLIF procedure is a percutaneous minimally invasive approach to transsacral fusion of the L4–S1 vertebral levels. It is gaining popularity due to the ease of access to the sacrum through the presacral space, which is relatively free from intraabdominal and neurovascular structures.

This 35-year-old man had undergone the procedure for the treatment of degenerative disc disease. The patient subsequently presented with fever, syncope, and foul-smelling gas and bloody drainage from the surgical site. A CT fistulagram and flexible sigmoidoscopy showed evidence of rectocutaneous fistula, which was managed with intravenous antibiotic therapy and bowel rest with total parenteral nutrition. Subsequent studies performed 6 months postoperatively revealed evidence of pseudarthrosis. The patient's rectocutaneous fistula symptoms gradually subsided, but his preoperative back pain recurred prompting a revision of his L5–S1 spinal fusion.

Abbreviations used in this paper:

IV = intravenous; TPN = total parenteral nutrition.
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