Cervical subdural empyema following acupuncture

J Clin Neurosci. 2004 Nov;11(8):909-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2004.02.011.


A review of the literature reveals only a few cases of spinal subdural empyema. Etiologies of spinal subdural empyema include hematogenous spread from skin lesions, systemic sepsis, direct spread from spinal osteomyelitis and complications of discography. However, in this report, we describe a patient who developed spinal subdural empyema following several cervical acupuncture sessions. Operative treatment with adequate laminectomy, removal of abscess, and copious irrigation resulted in good recovery. Microbiologic culture study of pus obtained at surgery was positive for Staphylococcus aureus. The need for sterilization procedures for acupuncture is emphasized and a brief review of the relevant literature is presented.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Adult
  • Cervical Vertebrae* / surgery
  • Empyema, Subdural / etiology*
  • Empyema, Subdural / pathology
  • Empyema, Subdural / surgery
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pain Management