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One-stage anterior debridement, bone grafting and posterior instrumentation vs. single posterior debridement, bone grafting, and instrumentation for the treatment of thoracic and lumbar spinal tuberculosis

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The aim of this study was to compare single posterior debridement, interbody fusion and instrumentation with one-stage anterior debridement, interbody fusion and posterior instrumentation for treating thoracic and lumbar spinal tuberculosis.


From January 2006 to January 2010, we enrolled 115 spinal tuberculosis patients with obvious surgical indications. Overall, 55 patients had vertebral body destruction, accompanied by a flow injection abscess or a unilateral abscess volume greater than 500 ml. The patients underwent one-staged anterior debridement, bone grafting and posterior instrumentation (group A) or single posterior debridement, bone grafting and instrumentation (group B). Clinical and radiographic results for the two groups were analyzed and compared.


Patients were followed 12–36 months (mean 21.3 months), Fusion occurred at 4–12 months (mean 7.8 months). There were significant differences between groups regarding the post-operative kyphosis angle, angle correction and angle correction rate, especially if pathology is present in thoracolumbar and lumbar regions. Operative complications affected five patients in group A, and one patient in group B. A unilateral psoas abscess was observed in three patients 12 months postoperatively. In one of them, interbody fusion did not occur, and there was fixation loosening and interbody absorption. All of them were cured by an anterior operation.


Anterior debridement and bone grafting with posterior instrumentation may not be the best choice for treating patients with spinal tuberculosis. Single posterior debridement/bone grafting/instrumentation for single-segment of thoracic or lumbar spine tuberculosis produced good clinical results, except in patients who had a psoas abscess.

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This publication was funded in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81171736).

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Xiaoyang Pang.

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Wang, X., Pang, X., Wu, P. et al. One-stage anterior debridement, bone grafting and posterior instrumentation vs. single posterior debridement, bone grafting, and instrumentation for the treatment of thoracic and lumbar spinal tuberculosis. Eur Spine J 23, 830–837 (2014).

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