Spinal Epidural Abscess: An Elusive Diagnosis

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This case illustrates the enigmatic fashion in which spinal epidural abscess (SEA) may manifest. In any patient with back pain and fever of unclear etiology, the diagnosis of SEA should be considered; this is particularly true when radicular symptoms are present. Some patients with SEA may not have a source of infection. SEA constitutes a neurosurgical emergency; with timely intervention, the morbid neurologic sequelae that can result once weakness or paralysis have occurred can be avoided.

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