Epidural abscess of the cervical spine

Case contributed by Dr Andrew Van


Sudden onset neck pain associated with headache, upper limb weakness and altered sensation, shortness of breath and nausea

Patient Data

Age: 60
Gender: Male

CT shows left dorsal epidural abscess or collection extending from the craniocervical junction below the foramen magnum at the level of C1 down to the level of C5/C6.

Posterior spinal cord compression at the level of C3.

This collection measures approximately 62x12mm in the coronal plane and 75 x 9mm in the left para-sagittal plane and extends laterally between the spinous processes of C1 and C2. 

Case Discussion

Relevant blood workup as follows:

White Cell Count: 18.7 x 10*9/L
Neutrophils: 16.1 x 10*9/L
C-Reactive Protein: 606mg/L
Blood Culture grew Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus.

The patient was transferred to a neurosurgical team at a tertiary center for management.


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Case information

rID: 45111
Published: 15th May 2016
Last edited: 6th Oct 2019
System: Spine
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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