The reasons and clinical treatments of postoperative relapse of Pott's disease

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Literature about postoperative relapse of Pott's disease is rare. Accordingly, the risk factors and clinical treatments for postoperative relapse of Pott's disease remain controversial. In order to evaluate the clinical outcomes of surgical treatment of postoperative Pott's disease relapse, and to investigate its optimal therapeutic procedures with respect to focal characteristics, we performed a retrospective review of clinical and radiographic data that were prospectively collected between July 2008 and May 2014 from 753 consecutive spinal tubercular patients including 67 patients who were diagnosed and treated as postoperative relapse of Pott's disease in our hospital. Apart from 9 patients being treated conservatively, the remaining 58 cases received surgery in our series. Specifically, 12 cases underwent anterior debridement, interbody fusion with instrumentation; 15 cases received posterior instrumentation anterior debridement, and bone grafting; 10 cases underwent posterior decompression, bone grafting, and instrumentation; 7 cases with debridement, 5 with debridement and sinus resection. Nine cases received percutaneous drainage and low-dose local continuous chemotherapy. Clinical outcomes before and after treatment were evaluated with statistical analysis based on hematologic and radiographic examinations, bone fusion, and neurologic status. Patients were followed-up for a mean of 39.2 ± 8.2 months (range, 24–60 months). Postoperatively, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) became normal within 4–6 months in all patients, and solid bone fusion was achieved within 8 months. Patients exhibited significant improvements in neurological deficits postoperatively, while the visual analog scale for pain showed significant improvements in all patients at final follow-up. The outcomes of follow-up showed that the reasons for postoperative relapse of Pott's disease were multiple. Individualized therapeutic methods should be chosen in accordance with the patient's general condition, recurrence focal characteristic, surgeon's experience, but above all is administration of appropriate chemotherapy.

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