Pyogenic vertebral discitis and osteomyelitis (PVDO) has become an increasing problem for the spine surgeon. Despite recent advances in medical care and improved diagnostic neuroimaging, PVDO remains a major cause of illness and death in the elderly population. Infection of the spinal column often presents insidiously; however, if not treated appropriately and in a timely manner it can lead to severe neurological impairment, systemic septicemia, and progressive spinal deformity. In this paper the authors review the epidemiological and pathophysiological features and the clinical presentation of PVDO. Conventional medical therapy is described, with a particular focus on the methods of diagnosis. Surgical strategies for PVDO are then presented based on the literature and according to the practice of the senior author (S.L.O.), with an emphasis placed on structural considerations, implant selection, and techniques for augmenting vascular tissue to the site of infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology