Spine Infections – Know All About It!

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By Dr. Saurabh Chaudhary, Orthopaedics

Spine infections are basically classified by the involvement of its anatomical location. The infections can occur in the vertebral column, intervertebral disc space, the spinal canal and the soft tissues lying adjacent to it. Infections can occur through bacteria or fungal organisms. Spinal surgeries can also lead to infections.

Most of the infections that occur after surgery, take place between three days and three months from the time of surgery. Before we talk about the tips regarding spinal infections, let us discuss briefly the types, symptoms and causes behind the problems.

Types

There are different types of spinal infections. They include:

It is the most common form of vertebral infection. This tends to develop from direct open spinal trauma. Apart from this, it also gets developed from infections in surrounding regions and from bacteria that gets spread to a vertebra.

  • Invertebral Disc Space Infections:

These infections occur in the space that lies between adjacent vertebrae. Disc space infections can further be divided into three subcategories in the form of adult hematogenous, childhood and postoperative.

Symptoms

Symptoms usually vary depending on the kind of spinal infection that a person suffers from. Usually, pain tends to be around the site of the infection. The usual symptoms for different kinds of spinal infections include:

  • Intense back pain
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle cramps
  • Painful or difficulty in urination
  • Neurological deficits.

Causes

The causes behind spinal infections include:

  • Bacterial or fungal infection in some other part of the body.
  • Spinal infections can crop up after one undergoes a urological procedureas the veins in the lower spine move up through the pelvis.

Tips

People suffering from spinal infections would receive the following tips or suggestions from an Orthopaedic surgeon regarding how to cure the problem and also on how can they prevent the occurrence of these infections. The tips include:

  • An Orthopaedic can provide intravenous antibiotic or antifungal therapy on a long-term basis.
  • Non-surgical treatment also involves immobilization, especially when one encounters tremendous pain or instability of the spine.
  • Structural and neurological stability can see patients receiving antibiotic treatment, once the organism that causes the infection gets identified properly.
  • Patients require to undergo antimicrobial therapy for a minimum period of six to eight weeks.
  • Surgery would be needed when the problem involves a significant portion of the bone, neurological problems and needle biopsy fails to work out in obtaining cultures.

The orthopaedic surgeon goes for surgery:

  • In order to clean up and remove the infected tissue
  • Let the infected tissue receive sufficient blood flow
  • Restore stability of the spine
  • One can prevent the occurrence of spinal infection like Osteomyelitis by keeping things very neat and clean. If anyone has suffered a deep cut, it is important to wash the region completely.



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