Primary lumbar epidural abscess

Case contributed by Dr Chris O'Donnell


IV drug user with Hep. C. Low back pain and fever with pain radiating into the lower limbs. Increased white cell count and raised CRP.

Patient Data

Age: 30
Gender: Female

Heterogenous mass in the left anterior epidural space of the lower lumbar canal showing pockets of T2 bightening with peripheral enhancement (fluid) indicative of abscess and more solid enhancing areas indicative of "phlegmon". Note no edema or enhancement in vertebral bodies/discs apart from minor increase in T2 signal on STIR in the L5/S1 disc.

Case Discussion

Epidural abscess in the absence of previous medical intervention is usually associated with diskitis/endplate oesteomyelitis or other bone infection around the spinal canal. In this case it seems to be a primary phenomenon presumably due to haematogenous deposition of bacteria into the epidural veins.

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Case information

rID: 29169
Published: 7th May 2014
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
System: Spine
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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