Spinal infections are a rare medical condition caused by a bacteria or fungal organisms and viruses. The condition can affect the intervertebral disc space, the spinal bones, the spinal canal, or surrounding soft tissues of the spinal cord. Spinal infections are classified as Discitis when the infection occurs on the intervertebral disc in the spine and Osteomyelitis when infections arise in the vertebral bones.
The infection causing bacteria spread to the spine through the bloodstream and as the infection progresses, the disc space degenerates spreading the infection into the vertebral bones. The infected vertebrae bones begin to collapse causing spinal deformity or may cause neurologic symptoms including numbness and weakness.
Causes of spinal infection
The major cause for spinal infection includes medical conditions that weaken the immune system of the body. These conditions include malnutrition, diabetes mellitus, use of immunosuppressant medications, cancer and use of intravenous drug abuse. When the body immune mechanism is weak, the bacterial and viral infections are prone to attack the body and manage to enter the bloodstream. The infection causing agent reaches the lumbar area of the spinal cord through the blood supply to the spinal cord.
Symptoms of spinal infection
Spinal infections exhibit symptoms starting with localized tenderness on the neck or back followed by fevers, severe back pain with any movement and unexplained weight loss with movement restriction. There can be possible swelling or redness around the infection site.
Diagnosing a spinal infection
Clinical examination including a x-ray, MRI scan and blood test is performed to confirm the presence of infection causing agent in the spinal cord.
Treatment for spinal infection
At Venkateswara Hospital, we brings together a multidisciplinary team of highly qualified and well experienced medical and surgical specialists to offer patients safe and effective treatments and rehabilitative programs. After complete evaluation of patient health condition and severity of the spine infection, a combination of intravenous antibiotic medications, bracing, and rest is recommended for a faster recovery from the medical condition. As the vertebral discs have minimum blood supply, the body's immune cells and externally supplied antibiotic medications have difficulty reaching the infection site on the spinal cord. Medications and antibiotic treatment usually continued for around six to eight weeks to prevent the spread of infection and to suppress the bacterial activity. Bracing and rest is recommended to improve spinal stability while the infection heals.
For severe infection, surgical treatment is necessary to treat the infection and prevent worsening of spinal deformity. Spinal Surgical treatment relieve any neurologic compression caused by an infected disc or by a spinal deformity caused by the collapse of the spinal bones. During the treatment course, repeated blood tests and imaging tests are performed to evaluate the response to the treatment.
At Venkateswara Hospital, offer various treatments techniques for patients with spinal infections caused by any infection causing agent to get them back on their foot at the earliest. To know more about spine infection treatments, book an appointment now.
Authored By Dr.S.Dhamodaran - MBBS Orthopaedic surgeon, Kovilpatti