Spinal Epidural Abscess

If you are suffering from a spinal epidural abscess, finding solutions to this painful and debilitating problem is a medical emergency. Not receiving treatment for these usually leads to paralysis and/or death.

About Spinal Epidural Abscess

Spinal epidural abscesses are pockets of pus and pathogens (such as bacteria or fungus) that develop between the bones of the spine and the outside covering of the spinal cord (known as the meninges). These abscesses are the result of an infection developing due to the introduction of bacteria into the area. They usually result from superficial exposures, such as skin infections or intravenous drug administration, or from an infection in another part of the body that spreads to the spine through the blood.

Common Symptoms of a Spinal Epidural Abscess

The most common symptoms are fever and back pain, then as the abscess progresses, weakness, numbness, walking difficulty, difficulty urinating, and bladder or bowel incontinence. These can come on suddenly or become progressively worse as the abscess grows in size and presses against your spinal cord.

Diagnosis of a Spinal Epidural Abscess

It’s very important that you get a proper diagnosis of a spinal epidural abscess. Because they share many similar symptoms with other conditions, pinpointing it will allow for prompt and proper administration of antibiotics and a surgical evaluation. It’s important to receive a quick diagnosis so that the infection does not have the chance to spread.

Spinal epidural abscesses are most successfully diagnosed through imaging of your spine using a CT scan or MRI. Lab work such as a urinalysis and culture, CBC (complete blood count), or blood cultures to check for the presence of bacteria in your blood might also be performed.

Treatment Options for a Spinal Epidural Abscess

Depending on the location and severity of your spinal epidural abscess, one or more treatments may be used. The most common treatments include heavy-duty antibiotic treatments and surgery to drain and remove the abscess. In less severe cases, antibiotics alone are used.