Overview: In this study, researchers sought to determine the best treatment for spinal epidural abscesses.
Conclusion: It was found that for patients with spinal epidural abscess, emergency surgery is the treatment method of choice. It allows decompression of neural structures, correction of the spinal deformity, segmental stabilization and rapid mobilization of patients.
Background: Spinal epidural abscess is uncommon but potentially debilitating infection. Delay in early diagnosis may be associated with increased morbidity and mortality despite recent advances in medicine.
Objective: To present the clinical course and outcome of treatment of spontaneous spinal epidural abscesses.
Methods: Thirty-four patients (20 men and 14 women) with clinical, neuroimaging and/or histological data for spinal epidural abscess were treated at the Clinic of Neurosurgery at St George University Hospital, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, for the period 2009-2018.
Results: The average age of patients was 62 years (21-76 years) and the ratio of men to women was 1.4:1. All patients (100%) presented with vertebralgia, 13 patients (38.2%) had additional radiculalgia, and 10 patients (29.4%) presented with sensory or motor deficit. The duration of complaints varied from 4 to 180 days. At hospital admission, only 9 patients (26.4%) had intact neurological status. The most common localization of the spinal epidural abscess was in the lumbar and lumbosacral area (52.9%), concomitant spondylodiscitis was present in 31 patients (91.2%). Twenty-four patients (70.6%) underwent emergency surgery within 24 hours, and the rest had planned surgery. Decompressive interlaminotomy or hemilaminectomy was performed in 9 patients (26.5%). The remaining 25 patients (73.5%) underwent laminectomy, in 15 patients (44.1%) it was combined with posterior pedicle screw fixation. After the treatment, 23 patients (67.6%) had a good outcome, the remaining 11 (32.4%) had a poor outcome, and 3 patients died (8.8%).
Conclusions: In patients with spinal epidural abscess, emergency surgery is the treatment method of choice. It allows decompression of neural structures, correction of the spinal deformity, segmental stabilization and rapid mobilization of patients.