Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis presenting as single spinal compression fracture: a case report and review of the literature


Study design: A case report of pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis (PVO) presenting as single collapsed vertebral body without narrowing of the intervertebral disc space, and review of the literature.

Objective: To describe an unusual case of PVO showing atypical radiological change and call attention to this condition so that others may avoid this diagnostic pitfall.

Setting: Japan.

Methods: A 62-year-old diabetic woman with suspected T12 pathological fracture of malignant spinal tumor and neurological involvement received urgent anterior decompression and spinal reconstruction without biopsy.

Results: Anterior decompression and spinal reconstruction was performed, but histological examination of the specimen after surgery unexpectedly revealed PVO. The surgery was followed by therapy with antibiotics for 7 months. A follow-up radiograph at 5 years after surgery revealed that solid consolidation has been achieved.

Conclusions: Diagnosis of PVO presenting with single spinal compression fracture is very difficult. Although the finding of the high signal intensity in the lesion equal to or higher than that of the cerebrospinal fluid on T2-weighted MR image seemed to be the most reliable diagnostic modality retrospectively, diagnosis of this type of PVO is impossible without histology. A needle biopsy before surgery is strongly recommended.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to E Abe.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Abe, E., Yan, K. & Okada, K. Pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis presenting as single spinal compression fracture: a case report and review of the literature. Spinal Cord 38, 639–644 (2000).

Download citation


  • pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis
  • osteoporosis
  • compression fracture
  • spinal tumor

Further reading


Quick links