Spinal Infection Surgery
Spine Infection Treatment in Pimpri Chinchwad
“Infections in the spine are rare, but if they happen they can have disastrous consequences. Spinal infections can involve the disc, the bones or the nerves.”
What is a Spinal Infection?
A spinal infection is a rare, but often serious, form of disease that occurs when bacteria, fungi, or viruses invade the spinal tissues. These foreign agents can attack pretty much any part of the spine that you can image. This includes the vertebrae, spinal discs, meninges, spinal canal… and even the spinal cord.
When these pathogens infect our intervertebral discs, doctors refer to this condition as Discitis, or disc inflammation. When these bugs attack the bones of our spine, we refer to the disease as Osteomyelitis.
Unlike the common cold, which is usually pretty harmless, spinal infections can wreak serious havoc on your spine. As spinal discs become inflamed from disease, they may start to break down or even decay. If the vertebral bodies also become infected, then the bones that form your spinal column can crack or fracture. Spinal fractures tend to make the spine very unstable. Unfortunately, this means that the weight of your torso may cause your entire spine to pitch forward. A form of spinal deformity, kyphosis occurs when the thoracic spine (or upper back) develops a forward hump.
Other issues linked to spinal infections include nerve pain and the buildup of pus, known as an abscess. Abscesses—aside from being extremely painful—can place pressure on your spinal cord. Also known as spinal stenosis, narrowing of the spinal canal can lead to nerve pain, muscle weakness, and even paralysis.
Causes of Spinal Infections:
Spinal infections can be caused by either a bacterial or a fungal infection in another part of the body that has been carried into the spine through the bloodstream. The most common source of spinal infections is a bacterium called staphylococcus aureus, followed by Escherichia coli.
Spinal infections may occur after a urological procedure, because the veins in the lower spine come up through the pelvis. The most common area of the spine affected is the lumbar region. Intravenous drug abusers are more prone to infections affecting the cervical region. Recent dental procedures increase the risk of spinal infections, as bacteria that may be introduced into the bloodstream during the procedure can travel to the spine.
Intervertebral disc space infections probably begin in one of the contiguous end plates, and the disc is infected secondarily. In children, there is some controversy as to the origin. Most cultures and biopsies in children are negative, leading experts to believe that childhood discitis may not be an infectious condition, but caused by partial dislocation of the epiphysis (the growth area near the end of a bone), as a result of a flexion injury.
What are the Symptoms of a Spinal Infection?
Symptoms vary depending on the type of spinal infection but, generally, pain is localized initially at the site of the infection. In postoperative patients, these additional symptoms may be present:
- Wound drainage
- Redness, swelling or tenderness near the incision
Nonsurgical treatment should be considered first when patients have minimal or no neurological deficits and the morbidity and mortality rate of surgical intervention is high. However, surgery may be indicated when any of the following situations are present:
- Significant bone destruction causing spinal instability
- Neurological deficits
- Sepsis with clinical toxicity caused by an abscess unresponsive to antibiotics
- Failure of needle biopsy to obtain needed cultures
- Failure of intravenous antibiotics alone to eradicate the infection
The primary goals of surgery are to:
- Debride (clean and remove) the infected tissue
- Enable the infected tissue to receive adequate blood flow to help promote healing
- Restore spinal stability with the use of instrumentation to fuse the unstable spine
- Restore function or limit the degree of neurological impairment
Once it is determined that the patient requires surgery, imaging tools such as plain x-rays, CT scans or MRI can help further pinpoint the level at which to perform surgery.