Treatment: Excision of infected bone and reconstruction of the spine using instrumentation
Mr Rai's notes
"Most infections of the spine can be treated with antibiotics but occasionally the infection can destroy the bone causing weakness, paralysis and severe pain. This case illustrates the need for appropriate, prompt aggressive surgery to restore normal function.
Mrs C was 74 year old lady that presented late with severe pain in the chest and weakness in her legs. She was initially admitted to another hospital and treated with antibiotics. However within a weak her legs became weak such she could not walk. She was referred to our hospital for a specialist spinal opinion.
Her pre op MRI shows how the infection is destroying the thoracic vertebrae with pressure on the spinal cord. If left untreated it is likely that her paralysis would be permanent and the infection would spread.
She underwent a staged surgical procedure with an anterior thoracotomy, excision of the infected material, reconstruction with a titanium cage followed by posterior instrumentation. The procedure took 7 hours to perform.
The post op x-ray shows the reconstruction and at 3 months post op she is able to walk and leads a independent life.
Mr S, aged 51
Condition: Spinal Infection
Treatment: Surgery to remove infected bone
Mr Rai's notes
"Mr S was initially admitted to hospital with pneumonia but as that improved he developed constant back pain that kept him up at night with mild weakness of his legs
An MRI scan showed a mild spinal infection so initial treatment was conservative with antibiotics, a lumbar corset and some gentle physiotherapy.
However, 2 weeks later, Mr S had increasing neck pain, plus pins and needles and difficulty walking. The infection had spread and was causing pressure on the spinal cord. If left untreated, there was a high chance that the pressure would build up on the spinal cord and potentially cause paralysis. Therefore a operation was recommended.
Surgery involved removing the infected bone to take pressure off the spinal cord. Screws then were placed in from behind to further strengthen and stabilise the spine.
Mr S is now symptom free and back to working within the building trade."