What is the role of surgery in the treatment of spinal epidural abscess?

Updated: Jul 12, 2018
  • Author: J Stephen Huff, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
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  • Emergency surgical decompression of the spinal cord with drainage of the abscess is the usual surgical treatment. [18, 19]

  • Successful treatment with a combination of abscess aspiration and antibiotic treatment has been reported and seems to be used increasingly.

  • Increasing neurologic deficit, persistent severe pain, or persistent fever and leukocytosis are all indications for decompressive surgery.

  • Patients with spinal epidural abscess may be clinically unstable because of concomitant systemic infection, shock, complications of diabetes mellitus, or other complications. As a result, an increased surgical risk often must be weighed in the decision process.

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