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Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-9

Treatment algorithm for spontaneous spinal infections: A review of the literature

1 Department of Human Neurosciences, Division of Neurosurgery, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
2 Department of Biomedicine, Neurosciences and Advanced Diagnostics (Bi.N.D.), University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
3 Department of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, Aou Policlinico Umberto I, Rome, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Giovanni Grasso
Policlinico Universitario Di Palermo, Via Del Vespro 129, 90100 Palermo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcvjs.JCVJS_115_18

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Background: Primary spinal infections are rare pathologies with an estimated incidence of 5% of all osteomyelitis. The diagnosis can be challenging and this might result in a late identification. The etiological diagnosis is the primary concern to determine the most appropriate treatment. The aim of this review article was to identify the importance of a methodological attitude toward accurate and prompt diagnosis using an algorithm to aid on spinal infection management. Methods: A search was done on spinal infection in some databases including PubMed, ISI Web of Knowledge, Google Scholar, Ebsco, Embasco, and Scopus. Results: Literature reveals that on the basis of a clinical suspicion, the diagnosis can be formulated with a rational use of physical, radiological, and microbiological examinations. Microbiological culture samples can be obtained by a percutaneous computed tomography-guided procedure or by an open surgical biopsy. When possible, the samples should be harvested before antibiotic treatment is started. Indications for surgical treatment include neurological deficits or sepsis, spine instability and/or deformity, presence of epidural abscess and failure of conservative treatment. Conclusion: A multidisciplinary approach involving both a spinal surgeon and an infectious disease specialist is necessary to better define the treatment strategy. Based on literature findings, a treatment algorithm for the diagnosis and management of primary spinal infections is proposed.

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