Abscess - epidural; Spinal abscess
An epidural abscess is a collection of pus (infected material) between the outer covering of the brain and spinal cord and the bones of the skull or spine. The abscess causes swelling in the area.
Epidural abscess is a rare disorder caused by infection in the area between the bones of the skull or spine, and the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord (meninges). This infection is called an intracranial epidural abscess if it is inside the skull area, or a spinal epidural abscess if it is found in the spine area. Most are located in the spine.
The infection is usually caused by bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus is most common), but may be caused by fungus. It can be due to other infections in the body, or germs that spread through the blood. However, in some patients, no other source of infection is found.
In the case of an intracranial epidural abscess (within the skull), risk factors include:
A spinal epidural abscess may be seen in patients with:
People who inject drugs are also at increased risk.
Nath A. Brain abscess and parameningeal infections. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 438.
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