Bedside twist drill aspiration of cerebral abscess less than 2.5 cm in size: A case series and discussion

Surg Neurol Int. 2017 Sep 26:8:230. doi: 10.4103/sni.sni_291_16. eCollection 2017.


Background: Intracranial abscess remains a potentially deadly condition despite development of newer antibiotics and improved surgical methods. Many studies have evaluated the surgical indications for abscess drainage, and it has been generally accepted that intracranial abscesses greater than 2.5 cm may best be treated with surgical intervention followed by antibiotic therapy. More recently, studies have shown good results with stereotactic aspiration of abscesses to 1 cm in size. Furthermore, a recent case series in 2014 of 103 cases of bedside twist drill aspiration of cerebral abscess >2.5 cm showed a good recovery in 83.4% of cases.

Case description: This case series examines the benefits of bedside twist drill aspiration of peripherally located brain abscess less than 2.5 cm in size. In our series, all patients were placed on broad-spectrum antibiotics and had negative blood and cerebrospinal fluid cultures. Our bedside biopsy resulted in de-escalation of antibiotics in 2 of the 3 patients and decreased hospital length of stay.

Conclusion: In patients with peripherally located brain abscesses less than 2.5 cm in size, bedside twist drill drainage may be a safe and reasonable approach. Positive identification of infective pathogen allows for a decreased hospital length of stay and de-escalation of antibiotics regiment resulting in significant reduction of hospital costs and resources in 2 of the 3 patients treated. This is of benefit to the patient as well as the health system.

Keywords: Abscess; aspiration; bedside; brain; evacuation; surgical.

Publication types

  • Case Reports