Spinal infections. Diagnosis and treatment

Bull Hosp Jt Dis. 2000;59(1):40-6.


Spinal infections encompass a broad spectrum of pathology. Any element of the spine, the vertebrae, disks, surrounding soft tissues, potential spaces, or the cord itself may be involved solely, or more commonly, in combination. Staphylococcus aureus is the organism most frequently found, with Gram negative bacteria often cited in association with infections of the urinary tract and in intravenous drug abusers. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for optimal outcomes. In some cases, the only necessary treatment consists of parenteral antibiotics and immobilization. However, certain instances require operative intervention. The goals of treatment for any infection of the spine are: early diagnosis with identification of the offending organism, preservation of neurological function or cessation of progressive neurologic deficit, and complete eradication of the infection with a pain-free, stable spine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / diagnosis
  • Abscess / therapy
  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis
  • Bacterial Infections / therapy
  • Bone Diseases, Infectious / diagnosis*
  • Bone Diseases, Infectious / microbiology
  • Bone Diseases, Infectious / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mycoses / diagnosis
  • Mycoses / therapy
  • Osteomyelitis / diagnosis
  • Osteomyelitis / therapy
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Diseases / microbiology
  • Spinal Diseases / therapy*
  • Spine / anatomy & histology
  • Surgical Wound Infection
  • Tuberculosis, Osteoarticular / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Osteoarticular / therapy