see also Cervical spinal epidural abscess.
Patients diagnosed with cervical spondylodiscitis after circumferential pharyngolaryngectomy between 2001 and 2013 were retrospectively studied using a questionnaire sent to the French head and neck tumour study group. Medical history; tumour management; clinical symptoms; biological, microbiological and imaging results; and management of the infection were collected for each patient.
Six men aged 51-66 years were diagnosed with spondylodiscitis on average 5.6 years after circumferential pharyngolaryngectomy, and a mean 2 months following an invasive procedure on the neopharynx (oesophageal dilatation, phonatory prosthesis insertion). The patients presented with cervical pain and increased CRP level. MRI showed epidural abscess and communication between the pharynx and vertebral bodies in most cases. Microbiological samples yielded bacteria from the pharynx flora. Infection was managed using antibiotics adjusted according to the culture results and spinal immobilisation for duration of 6-12 weeks. No surgical treatment was required. During follow-up, no patient experienced recurrence or residual disability.
Cervical spondylodiscitis is a rare but potentially severe complication following an invasive procedure on the neopharynx after circumferential pharyngolaryngectomy. Therefore, the onset of nonspecific symptoms should not be overlooked, and MRI must be performed if infection is suspected. Microbiological confirmation is critical in optimising treatment, which should be aggressive, even if overall prognosis seems to be good 1).