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Spinal Infections

Spinal InfectionSpinal infections refer to the presence of bacteria amongst the bone, (osteomyletis), in disc space (diskitis), along the nerves or spinal cord (epidural abscess), or extra spinal soft tissues. These infections may spontaneously arise secondary to another infection somewhere in the body which include urinary tract infections, pneumonia, or blood infections. Infections may also occasionally occur as a result of surgeries. In general the risk of infection for a spine surgery is less than 1%. The majority of infections can be treated with IV or oral antibiotics. At other times surgeries may be necessary to remove abbesses, infected regions of bone, or to correct spinal deformities caused by infections.

Signs that there may be an infection: Unexplained back pain or neurologic symptoms such as numbness and/or weakness.

Post Op infections indications:

  • Wound drainage
  • Redness around the wound
  • Increasing pain around the wound
  • Persistent Fever

CT scan of spinal infectionAt times it is appropriate to use a MRI (image on the right) or CT (image on the left) scan to specifically image the spinal infection. The addition of IV contrast improves the resolution of the infection.

not intended as a substitute for medical advise.  Always consult your physician about your medical condidion.
Last modified: March 7th, 2011