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Instr Course Lect


Update on the Diagnosis and Management of Spinal Infections.


Urrutia J, Bono CM
Instr Course Lect. 2022; 71:439-449.
PMID: 35254800.


Pyogenic spinal infections are uncommon, but their incidence has increased. Diagnosis is based on clinical, laboratory, and imaging findings. Delayed diagnosis occurs frequently and can lead to poor outcomes. Early radiographic findings are nonspecific; MRI is the best imaging study for diagnosis. The goal of treatment is to eradicate infection, prevent recurrence, preserve spinal stability, avoid deformity, relieve pain, and prevent or reverse neurologic deficit. Current guidelines recommend antibiotics be administered for 6 weeks if there is resolution of symptoms and normalization of inflammatory parameters. Surgery is required in patients with neurologic deficit, uncontrolled sepsis, spinal instability, deformity, and failure of medical treatment and to manage epidural abscess. Classic treatment of epidural abscess is surgical, but recent studies have challenged this approach. Surgical techniques used to manage these infections are varied; they include anterior, posterior, and combined approaches, and minimally invasive surgery. Current management has decreased mortality; however, the prognosis is affected by treatment failure, recurrent infection, or potential of persistent disability secondary to deformity, chronic pain, or permanent neurologic impairment.