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Transforaminal lumbar interbody debridement and fusion for the treatment of infective spondylodiscitis in the lumbar spine

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To determine the safety and efficacy of using a single posterior approach with transforaminal lumbar interbody debridement and fusion (TLIDF) plus pedicle screws fixation in treating infective spondylodiscitis in the lumbar spine.


Between January 2009 and June 2011, 28 patients with infective spondylodiscitis who underwent TLIDF, using autogenous graft and posterior pedicle screws instrumentation, met the indications for surgery, and completed more than 18 months of follow-up, were included. Clinical outcomes were assessed using a visual analog scale (VAS), the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and Kirkaldy-Willis functional outcome criteria. Infection status was evaluated using C-reactive protein levels, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and clinical symptoms. The interbody fusion status and sagittal alignment of the infected segments were assessed using radiographic studies.


Intra-operative culture rate was 82.1 %. The most common pathogen was methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. One post-operative deep wound infection with septic implant loosening and one instance of early aseptic implant loosening were noted. Implants in both patients were subsequently removed. Two infections recurred within 3 months post-operatively, with both subsiding within 3 months after extended antibiotic treatment. VAS and ODI values were significantly improved. The interbody fusion rate was 82.1 % and the lordotic angle of the infected segments and the lumbar spine were corrected by 9.7° and 14.3°, respectively at the last follow-up.


A single posterior approach with TLIDF and pedicle screws instrumentation for lumbar infective spondylodiscitis provided a satisfactory clinical outcome, adequate infection control and good fusion rate, and this strategy avoids the risks of anterior or staging surgeries.

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Correspondence to Wen-Jer Chen.

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Lu, ML., Niu, CC., Tsai, TT. et al. Transforaminal lumbar interbody debridement and fusion for the treatment of infective spondylodiscitis in the lumbar spine. Eur Spine J 24, 555–560 (2015).

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