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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Epidural Abscess
      Category : Health Centers > Brain and Nervous System

Epidural Abscess

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

An epidural abscess is a walled off area of infection in the epidural space. This is the space between the outermost membrane of the brain or spinal cord and the overlying bone and ligaments.

What is going on in the body?

An epidural abscess is usually caused by the spread of infection from elsewhere in the body. The infection may spread either directly or through the bloodstream.

What are the causes and risks of the infection?

An epidural abscess usually results from the spread of infection either directly or through the bloodstream. For example, an infection of the nasal sinuses or an open skull fracture can cause an abscess to develop. Factors that increase a person's risk for an abscess include:

  • bacterial endocarditis, an infection of the heart
  • an implant, such as a pacemaker, that has become infected
  • an infected urinary catheter or intravenous line (IV)
  • osteomyelitis, or bone infection, especially in the vertebrae of the spine
  • a recent sinus infection
  • recent surgery
  • a tooth abscess
  • an upper respiratory infection
  • a urinary tract infection
  • a weakened immune system as a result of diabetes, HIV, or other immunodeficiency disorders


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    Epidural Abscess: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: James Warson, MD
    Reviewer: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Date Reviewed: 08/20/01

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