Spine infections

Seth K. Williams, Frank J Eismont

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Spine infection is a serious illness that can result in considerable disability and even death. A prompt diagnosis and proper treatment are critical to eradicate infection. Neurologic sequelae such as cauda equina syndrome, paralysis, or cognitive dysfunction attributable to meningitis can result, adding a sense of urgency to the diagnosis and treatment. Spinal deformity also can result, even if the infection has been eradicated. Irrespective of the specific characteristics of the infection, successful treatment involves an accurate diagnosis and species determination, appropriate antimicrobial treatment, and surgery in some circumstances. The treatment goals are pain relief, infection eradication, the maintenance or restoration of spinal alignment and stability, and the preservation of neurologic function. An understanding of general patient demographics and diagnosis and treatment considerations for vertebral discitis and osteomyelitis in the adult and pediatric populations, epidural abscesses, and postoperative surgical site infections is important. Recent developments include new diagnostic tools, the evolving role of negative pressure wound dressings, a better understanding of the risk factors for surgical site infection, related strategies to reduce postoperative infections, and emerging minimally invasive surgical techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOrthopaedic Knowledge Update 12
PublisherWolters Kluwer Health
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781975123949
ISBN (Print)9781975123895
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Discitis
  • Epidural abscess
  • Spine infections
  • Tuberculous spondylitis
  • Vertebral osteomyelitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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