Acute cervical osteomyelitis and prevertebral abscess after routine tonsillectomy

Alpesh A. Patel*, Luke Madigan, Kornelis A. Poelstra, Peter G. Whang, Alexander R. Vaccaro, James S. Harrop

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background context: Tonsillectomy is among the most commonly performed surgical procedures. The development of severe infection after tonsillectomy is a very rare but potentially fatal complication that has not been described in the orthopedic, neurosurgical, or spine literature. Purpose: To present acute cervical osteomyelitis and prevertebral abscess formation as a complication of a routine tonsillectomy. Study design: Case report, literature review. Methods: A case report was prepared on the clinical and radiographic data of a patient presenting with prevertebral abscess and acute cervical osteomyelitis 6 weeks after routine tonsillectomy. A review of relevant literature was additionally performed. Results: The patient presented 6 weeks after tonsillectomy with evidence of a deep cervical infection. Operative debridement with anterior and posterior surgical stabilization was performed. The patient completed a 6-week course of intravenous antibiotics. At 24-month follow-up, the patient showed no signs of infection and demonstrated a stable fusion mass. Conclusions: The development of prevertebral abscess and acute cervical osteomyelitis has been discussed in a small number of otolaryngology case reports and has not been previously reported in the orthopedic, neurosurgical, or spine literature. Symptoms may be nonspecific, and so a high index of clinical suspicion is needed. Delay in treatment may lead to significant morbidity and even mortality. Successful treatment can be obtained through operative debridement and intravenous antibiotic therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-830
Number of pages4
JournalSpine Journal
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2008

Keywords

  • Adenoidectomy complications
  • Cervical osteomyelitis
  • Infection
  • Prevertebral abscess
  • Surgical treatment
  • Tonsillectomy complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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