Primary psoas abscess. Report of three cases

Acta Chir Belg. 2002 Apr;102(2):114-7. doi: 10.1080/00015458.2002.11679276.


Background: Primary psoas abscesses are a rare clinical entity with subtle and non specific symptoms, most commonly seen in patients predisposed to infections. Early diagnosis and appropriate management are therefore challenging aspects for physicians.

Patients and methods: We present three patients with primary pyogenic psoas abscess, treated at the Heraklion University Hospital, during a 5-year period. The two male and one female patient, aged 36-51 years were admitted with fever, abdominal pain and a palpable tender mass.

Results: The classical sign of limping was absent in all cases. Positive psoas symptoms were detected in only two patients. CT scan accurately confirmed the diagnosis in all cases. The patients were successfully treated with antibiotics and prolonged surgical drainage. Staphylococcus aureus was the causative microorganism in the first two and Bacteroides fragilis in the third patient. This is the first reported case resulting from this specific bacteria. None of our patients had any predisposing risk factor.

Conclusions: A high index of suspicion is mandatory to enable early recognition of this rare clinical disease. CT scan is the standard diagnostic tool to confirm diagnosis. Prolonged drainage and appropriate antibiotics are essential for the successful treatment of primary psoas abscesses.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacteroides Infections / complications
  • Bacteroides Infections / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bacteroides Infections / therapy*
  • Drainage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoas Abscess / diagnostic imaging*
  • Psoas Abscess / etiology
  • Psoas Abscess / therapy*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / complications
  • Staphylococcal Infections / diagnostic imaging*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / therapy*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vancomycin / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Vancomycin