Discitis Following Removal of Intervertebral Disc

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Thirty-three patients with discitis following removal of an intervertebral disc and treated at the Orthopaedic Hospital of the Invalid Foundation in Helsinki, Finland, are reported. The incidence of discitis in this series extending over a period of 16 years (1960–1975) was 0.75%. The appearance of the disease paralleled mainly the frequency of postoperative infections at the hospital in general. Two-thirds of the patients were treated conservatively, while additional surgical treatment was needed for the others. At average follow-up 7.5 years later, most patients showed advanced symptoms from the back, and increased degenerative changes were observed on roentgenograms. About one-half of the patients had retired from regular work. Preoperative prophylaxis, early diagnosis, and appropriate management of the disease is especially urgent to overcome and inhibit the consequences of postoperative discitis.

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