Date of Award

January 2024

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Jonathan N. Grauer


Spine infections fall under one of two major categories, primary spinal infections as well as postoperative spine infections. Both of these events are rare but associated with significant morbidity and mortality, and the diagnosis as well as optimal intervention strategy utilized for management is not always clear. In particular, postoperative surgical site infection (SSI) is a rare but potentially devastating complication. Previous studies have assessed risk factors for postoperative spine SSI and one aimed to develop risk stratification tool to assess management options, but this tool has not been externally validated or regularly used.The current thesis had two primary aims: 1) to review the literature and assess and describe the current consensus on strategies for the diagnosis of spinal infections, with a focus on imaging modalities and findings, and 2) to conduct an original single-institution retrospective research study investigating the rate of SSI following elective spine surgery, surgical management pursued, and success of traditionally utilized one-stage of irrigation and debridement (I&D) with closure over drains. The work outlined in the current thesis seeks to provide an overview of the topic of spine infections with foci on both optimal use of imaging in the diagnosis as well as a focus on management strategies for postoperative SSI. We hope this data provides useful context and guidance to the practice of spine surgeons and other clinicians working up or managing patients with spinal infections.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access