Transforaminal Posterior Approach Is Effective for Treatment of Lower Thoracic Spine Spondylodiscitis

  • Fady Ibrahim
  • Tameem Mohamed ElkhateebEmail author
  • Abdelrady Abd El-Rady
  • Mohammed Zayan
Surgical Technique



Patients with lower-thoracic spine pathologies that affect anterior column stability and compress the neural tissues need anterior decompression and reconstruction. Anterior approaches result in long-term morbidities. Posterior laminectomy and fixation alone may not be sufficient to maintain spine stability.


To evaluate the results of a posterior-only transforaminal thoracic interbody fusion approach for patients with thoracic disc space infection in terms of the improvement in neurologic status, resolution of infection, correction of kyphotic deformity, and assessment of post-operative complications.


A prospective study was done on 40 patients with lower thoracic spine spondylodiscitis. All patients were assessed with pre-operative imaging. Neurologic assessment was performed using the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale and functionally by the modified Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) scale. Pre-operative and post-operative white blood cell count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and C-reactive protein levels were compared. All patients were operated on through a posterior approach using the transforaminal thoracic interbody fusion for decompression, reconstruction, and anterior fusion.


Mean age of patients was 49 years; mean operative period was 188 min; mean blood loss was 611 mL. Twelve patients’ ASIA scores improved and only two patients’ scores declined. One patient died 11 months post-operatively due to septicemia. The mean follow-up period was 27.8 months. The modified JOA score improved from 6.3 ± 1.6 to 9.5 ± 0.6. The local kyphosis angle was improved from 13.8 to 6.9° post-operatively, with insignificant loss of correction at the end of follow-up. Thirty-eight out of 40 patients had solid anterior fusion at the end of follow-up.


The clinical outcomes of this study showed that the transforaminal thoracic interbody approach is effective for both decompression and anterior reconstruction of the lower thoracic spine in patients with spondylodiscitis.


anterior reconstruction lower thoracic spine spondylodiscitis transforaminal thoracic interbody fusion 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Fady Ibrahim, MD, Tameem Mohamed Elkhateeb, MD, Abdelrady Abd El-Rady, MD, and Mohammed Zayan, MD, declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human/Animal Rights

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2013.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in this study.

Required Author Forms

Disclosure forms provided by the authors are available with the online version of this article.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Hospital for Special Surgery 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic, Spine Surgery, Faculty of MedicineAin Shams UniversityAbbasseyaEgypt

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