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North American Spine Society Journal


Background: Bone grafting is commonly used in spine surgery to supplement or replace the need for autografts. This is harvested, prepared, and utilized predominantly for osteoconductive properties. Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, a procedure to decompress and fuse the spine which treats herniated discs and compressed nerves, commonly uses Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) interbody filled with allograft bone matrices to reconstruct the disc space after a discectomy is performed.

Case description: The presented case is one of a 57-year-old male patient who underwent an uneventful cervical 5-6 and cervical 6-7 discectomy and fusion using a PEEK interbody and bone allograft. The allograft had been prepared using cancellous bone particles with preserved living cells and demineralized cortical bone fibers to facilitate bone repair and healing, which is a common technique. The allograft was aseptically processed to preserve native factors that can support bone repair and prevent contamination and cross-contamination of the product. Additionally, the product was sterilized using gamma irradiation to further prevent contamination.

Outcome: Unfortunately, with the presented case, the State's Department of Health and The Center for Diseases Control and Prevention identified that the graft was from a source contaminated with tuberculosis. The patient being reported went on to develop disseminated tuberculosis, including lung abscesses and osteomyelitis.

Conclusions: The current case highlights that there was contamination of the donor bone sources. Tuberculosis was not screened in the tissue donor even though he had risk factors, symptoms, and signs consistent with tuberculosis. Although there are methods to screen potential organ donors for tuberculosis, there is currently no approved standard laboratory tuberculosis screening tool for bone grafts. Thus, this emphasizes the importance of proper screening among individual institutions for even the most uncommon diseases in all donated bone grafts.



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Allograft, Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, Bone graft, Infectious disease, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Screening protocol