Spinal Infections

Image: MRI of a discitis that is a disc space infection eroding into the vertebral endplates and vertebral bodies above and below that requires a surgical debridement and bone grafting

Spinal Infections are difficult problems that can arise spontaneously or as a result of prior surgery and all are difficult problems that require a multidisciplinary approach often with the spinal surgeon, interventional radiologist, and the infectious disease specialist. Acute spinal infection problem can lead to death and paralysis if left untreated and some spinal infections that have been successfully treated with antibiotics can leave a patient with a chronic pain problem due to spinal instability.The site and stage of the infection is often the key to treatment that may range from antibiotics to surgical debridement to major surgical reconstruction. Dr Johnson been involved in the treatment of spinal infections his entire career as they are not usually treated in a community hospital setting and require a team of specialists to successfully treat them.


Image: Images of a discitis/osteomyelitis case arising from the L34 disc and required and anterior and posterior spinal reconstruction procedure that led to resolution of the infection

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Alsina GA, Johnson JP, McBride DQ, Rhoten PRL, Mehringer CM, Stokes JK: Spinal cysticercosis.  Neurosurgical Focus 12(6): Article 8, 2002.

Citow JS, Johnson JP, McBride DQ, and Ammirati M: Intraventricular neurocysticercosis: magnetic resonance imaging and surgical outcomes in 30 patients. Neurosurgical Focus 12(6): Article 6, 2002.

Masciopinto JE, Johnson JP, Kim KD: Interbody fusion devices in infections. Techniques in Neurosurgery 7(2): 162-168, 2001.

Kim KD, Johnson JP, Masciopinto JE: Management of spinal epidural abscess and subdural empyema. Techniques in Neurosurgery 5(4):293-302, December 1999.

Johnson JP, Paré LS, Torres RA: Thoracolumbar body replacement: materials and techniques. Contemporary Neurosurgery 20(6):1-9, March 1998.