The clinical outcomes and surgical strategy for cervical spine tuberculosis: A retrospective study in 78 cases

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Abstract

Literature on the treatment of cervical spinal tuberculosis (CSTB) is uncommon, the surgical approaches to cervical spinal tuberculosis were controversial. The aim of the study was to evaluate the clinical outcomes of 3 surgical techniques in CSTB patients, and to determine the most appropriate approach for CSTB patients. Between April 2006 and June 2012, we performed a retrospective review of clinical and radiographic data that were collected from 850 consecutive spinal tubercular patients, including 87 patients who were diagnosed and treated for CSTB in our hospital. Apart from 9 patients being treated conservatively, the remainder (78 cases) underwent surgery by anterior debridement, interbody fusion and instrumentation (A group), posterior instrumentation and anterior debridement, fusion and instrumentation in a single or two-stage operation (AP group), or posterior debridement, fusion and posterior instrumentation (P group). The patients were evaluated preoperatively and postoperatively on the basis of hematologic, radiographic examinations, and neurologic function. The 78 patients were followed up for a mean duration of 41.2 ± 7.2 months (range, 24–65 months). Postoperatively, the preoperative erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) value returned to normal within 3 to 6 months in all patients, and solid bone fusion was achieved in 3 to 8 months. The patients exhibited significant improvement in deformity and neurological deficit postoperatively, while the visual analog scale for pain showed significant improvement in all patients at the last follow up visit. The follow-up outcomes demonstrated that all 3 surgical methods were viable management options for CSTB. Individualized therapeutic strategies should be selected according to the patient's general condition, focal characteristics, and the surgeon's experience.

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