Epidural Abscesses

Epidural Abscesses

An epidural abscess is an uncommon infection that most commonly is found in the spine, but can appear in the skull or brain in some cases. This infection appears in the dura, or tissue, that is found surrounding the nerve roots and spinal cord. An epidural abscess can be potentially debilitating, and is an extremely dangerous and serious condition. To prevent serious side effects and symptoms, an epidural abscess must be treated immediately.

Causes and symptoms

Generally, a bacterium causes the epidural abscesses to form. The most common bacterium causing this condition is called staphylococcus aureus. However, the condition can also be caused by other infections, germs in the blood or fungus. The danger in an epidural abscess is that many patients do not display a source of the infection. The most common cases of epidural abscess develop within people containing:

  • A history of invasive spinal procedures or open back surgery
  • Bone infections in the spine
  • Boils
  • Infections of the bloodstream

When an epidural abscess is found on the spine, a number of symptoms may present themselves, including:

  • Back pain
  • Fever
  • Lack of bodily movement
  • Loss of sensation or feeling
  • Paralysis
  • Weakness


Epidural abscesses are very serious conditions, so if you have experienced any of these symptoms speak with your physician immediately. Talk to your doctor about getting an MRI or CT scan, as these can generally detect an epidural abscess.