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What Can Cause An Abscess On The Spinal Cord?

What Do We Mean By An Abscess Of The Spinal Cord?

A Spinal Cord Abscess is an extremely rare pathological condition involving the spinal cord in which the spinal cord gets permanently damaged.(1) To understand Spinal Cord Abscess, it is important to understand the meaning of an abscess. An abscess develops in the tissues when it gets swollen due to build up of pus. This normally occurs when an injured area of the tissue gets infected.

As soon as the infection develops, the body’s immune system gets activated and the white blood cells start to fill up the damaged tissue resulting in accumulation of pus. Pus is mainly composed of dead cells and bacteria.(4)

With the introduction of wide array of antibiotics, Spinal Cord Abscess has become a rarity.(1) In case if an individual develops a Spinal Cord Abscess, then it can be easily treated by antibiotics, although sometimes the abscess may be too large and surgery may be required to remove the abscess followed by administration of antibiotics to treat Spinal Cord Abscess.

What Can Cause An Abscess On The Spinal Cord?

What Can Cause An Abscess On The Spinal Cord?

The primary cause for the development of a Spinal Cord Abscess is infiltration of bacteria into the spinal cord.(2) Staphylococcus and Streptococcus are the most common forms of bacteria that tend to cause a Spinal Cord Abscess.(2) Once into the spinal cord, these bacteria start to multiply within the spinal cord resulting in an infection. This infection activates the immune system of the body, which results in the development of an abscess.

Boils that sometimes develop on the scalp or the skin surface of the back also tend to cause Spinal Cord Abscess. Medical conditions like septicemia are also believed to be one of the causes for the development of Spinal Cord Abscess.

An injury to the spinal cord that can be sustained through a motor vehicle crash, an act of violence like a gunshot wound to the spinal cord may allow the bacteria to infiltrate into the spinal cord and cause a Spinal Cord Abscess.

Certain complicated surgical procedure of the spinal cord may also result in Spinal Cord Abscess. Tuberculosis is yet another medical condition that tends to cause Spinal Cord Abscess.(3)


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Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 4, 2020

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