Multidisciplinary management of thoracic esophageal fistula secondary to traumatic upper thoracic fracture (T3-4) with associated discitis/osteomyelitis and spinal epidural abscess: Illustrative case
Schaible P, Gordon P, Kalimuthu R, Omi E, Schaible K. Multidisciplinary management of thoracic esophageal fistula secondary to traumatic upper thoracic fracture (T3-4) with associated discitis/osteomyelitis and spinal epidural abscess: illustrative case. J Neurosurg Case Lessons. 2023;6(10):CASE23344. Published 2023 Sep 4. doi:10.3171/CASE23344
Background:An esophageal fistula secondary to a traumatic upper thoracic (T3-4) fracture with resultant thoracic discitis/osteomyelitis and an epidural abscess with neurological compromise is a rare clinical entity. Early diagnosis is critical for an optimal clinical outcome avoiding grave and progressive spinal dissemination with structural instability and neurological deterioration.
Observations:The following case, not clearly described previously in the literature, highlights the clinical course and multidisciplinary approach to management including a single-stage posterior cervicothoracic (C3-T6) decompression with vertebral reconstruction with an expandable interbody cage (T2-4) and posterior cervicothoracic fusion and instrumentation (C3-T6), followed by direct esophageal fistula closure with AlloDerm and a vascularized latissimus dorsi muscle flap.
Lessons:Early diagnosis and the potential treatment of a posttraumatic esophageal fistula requires a multidisciplinary approach.