Spine Surgery Division, Agostino Gemelli Hospital, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Rome, Rome, Italy.
Purpose: An extensive spinal epidural abscess is a rare condition and causes significant morbidity and mortality. Few authors have described this uncommon entity, which requires early diagnosis and optimal treatment to avoid devastating complications. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a minimally invasive technique for treatment of an extensive spinal epidural abscess by describing two cases. Furthermore, we conducted a review of the recent literature on the management of this rare condition.
Methods: We report two cases of spinal abscesses extending to the whole epidural space, successfully treated by use of a minimally invasive technique consisting of multilevel laminotomy and catheter irrigation to decompress and drain the epidural space.
Results: This technique is able to decompress the spinal cord, isolate the pathogen and evacuate the abscess. No complications, late spine deformity or dura penetration were observed in our patients.
Conclusion: Urgent surgical decompression, in combination with long-term antibiotic treatment, is generally considered the treatment of choice for an extensive spinal epidural abscess. A minimally invasive technique can be very useful as a surgical option.
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