Perioperative complications associated with spine surgery in patients with established spinal cord injury.
Charcot spinal arthropathy is a relatively rare, destructive process characterized by a cycle of progressive deformity, destruction, and worsening instability as a result of repetitive trauma and inflammation. It may result from nontraumatic as well as traumatic causes. Historically, patients with severe symptomatic instability have been successfully treated with combined anterior and posterior fusion techniques. The long-term outcomes and potential complications, however, have not been well reported. The authors report on 2 such cases of Charcot spinal arthropathy treated surgically, one with a traumatic and one with a nontraumatic etiology. They include the unique pitfalls encountered while treating these patients, as well as their surgical treatments, complications, and long-term results.