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Does Surgical Technique Affect the Incidence of Spondylodiscitis Post–Lumbar Microdiscectomy? A Retrospective Analysis of 3063 Patients

Kaliaperumal, Chandrasekaran FRCSEd(Neuro. Surg); Kuechler, Derek MBBS; Kaar, George PhD; Marks, Charles FRCS; O'Sullivan, Michael FRCS(SN)

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e318278ec06

Study Design. Retrospective audit in a single center during a period of 7 years operated by 3 groups of surgeons after 3 different surgical techniques.

Objective. Our study aimed to determine whether surgical technique had any influence on the incidence of spondylodiscitis in patients undergoing lumbar microdiscectomy and to compare this with published rate of incidence of spondylodiscitis.

Summary of Background Data. The incidence of spondylodiscitis post–lumbar microdiscectomy ranges from 0.2% to 15%. There is limited evidence to compare different techniques and the incidence of spondylodiscitis.

Methods. A total of 3063 patients were analyzed from 2005 to 2011 for discitis postoperatively. The first group followed a standard microdiscectomy technique, the second group used antiseptic (Savlon; Novartis Consumer Health UK Limited, Surrey, UK) irrigation at the end of the procedure to irrigate the disc space, and the third group followed standard microdiscectomy along with usage of a separate disc instruments when discectomy was performed. The number of patients operated in the individual groups was 559, 1122, and 1382.

Results. The total number of patients who had postoperative discitis was 3 (0.10%), with a range of 0.07% to 0.18%. There was 1 case of discitis in each group. The incidence of spondylodiscitis in groups A, B, and C were 0.18%, 0.09%, and 0.07%, respectively.

Conclusion. This study concluded that different techniques used for lumbar microdiscectomy revealed that standard microsurgical technique with usage of antiseptic irrigation for the disc space and usage of separate disc instruments had lesser incidence of spondylodiscitis in comparison with standard microdiscectomy. The overall incidence of postoperative discitis remains less in our series. So far, to our knowledge, this report involves the largest number of patients studied to determine the incidence of discitis in patients undergoing lumbar microdiscectomy.

Level of Evidence: 3

Retrospective analysis of 3063 patients who underwent lumbar microdiscectomy using 3 separate surgical techniques is performed. We determine the incidence of postoperative spondylodiscitis in the individual group of patients, and comparison with published results was made.

From the Department of Neurosurgery, Cork University Hospital, Cork, Republic of Ireland.

Address correspondence and reprint request to Chandrasekaran Kaliaperumal, FRCSEd(Neuro. Surg), Department of Neurosurgery, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Republic of Ireland; E-mail:

Acknowledgment date: April 10, 2012. First revision date: May 15, 2012. Acceptance date: July 12, 2012.

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

No funds were received in support of this work.

No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.