To compare simultaneous with sequential one-stage (same anaesthesia) combined anterior and posterior spinal surgery in the treatment of spinal infections in terms of the operation time, blood loss and complication rate. Fifty-six patients who underwent one-stage (same anaesthesia) simultaneous or sequential anterior decompression and posterior stabilisation of the involved vertebrae for spinal infection from January 1994 to December 2002 were reviewed. In group I (n=29), sequential anterior and posterior surgery was performed. In group II (n=27), simultaneous anterior and posterior spinal surgery was performed. With regard to age and gender, there was no statistical difference between both groups (P=0.05). The analysed and compared data between the two groups included the age, gender, blood loss, operation time and postoperative complications. There was a statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of the duration of surgery, amount of blood transfusion needed and occurrence of major postoperative complications (P < 0.05). The mean correction of the kyphotic deformity was similar in both groups (P > 0.05) without a subsequent loss of correction on follow-up radiographic films at a mean follow-up of 6.5 years (range, 3 to 11 years). Simultaneous anterior and posterior surgery is a good alternative procedure. It provides the ability to manipulate both anterior and posterior aspects of the spine at the same time and appears to result in less blood loss, a shorter operative time and fewer complications. However, gaining experience and the availability of two surgical teams are important factors in the success of the procedure.