Spinal Infections


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Abstract

Spinal infections can occur in a variety of clinical situations. Their presentation ranges from the infant with diskitis who is unwilling to crawl or walk to the adult who develops an infection after a spinal procedure. The most common types of spinal infections are hematogenous bacterial or fungal infections, pediatric diskitis, epidural abscess, and postoperative infections. Prompt and accurate diagnosis of spinal infections, the cornerstone of treatment, requires a high index of suspicion in at-risk patients and the appropriate evaluation to identify the organism and determine the extent of infection. Neurologic function and spinal stability also should be carefully evaluated. The goals of therapy should include eradicating the infection, relieving pain, preserving or restoring neurologic function, improving nutrition, and maintaining spinal stability.

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