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Bacterial Infections of the Spine

Topic Overview

Bacterial infections of the spine are rare but can include infection of:

  • The discs (discitis).
  • The spinal cord (usually an infection of the tissue covering the spinal cord, called an epidural abscess).
  • One or more vertebrae (osteomyelitis).
  • The facet joints, which may be the site of infectious arthritis.

Bacteria that infect the spine usually originate in other parts of the body and are carried to the spine through the bloodstream. But bacteria can enter the spine directly during surgery or injection treatments, as the result of injury, or as a result of IV drug use.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: November 16, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Robert B. Keller MD - Orthopedics

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