Spinal cord abscess secondary to infected dorsal dermal sinus in an infant: uncommon presentation of a known entity

BMJ Case Rep. 2017 Dec 20:2017:bcr2017222366. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2017-222366.


Infection along the congenital dermal sinus tract is well known. However, congenital dorsal dermal sinus presenting with intramedullary abscess is quite rare. The sinus tract usually presents in the midline and acts as a portal of entry for infection that may manifest as meningitis, extradural or subdural abscess and may further involve the cord. Surgical drainage of pus and complete excision of the sinus tract is the standard treatment. Here we describe an infant with an infected congenital dorsal dermal sinus with atypical presentation as large paracentral abscess in the upper back. We further highlight the importance of recognising and treating these skin dimples even when clinically silent to avoid catastrophic complications.

Keywords: bone and joint infections; infection (neurology); spinal cord.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / diagnostic imaging*
  • Abscess / pathology
  • Abscess / surgery
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drainage
  • Fever
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Laminectomy*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Paraparesis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Paraparesis / etiology
  • Paraparesis / physiopathology
  • Paraparesis / surgery
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Spina Bifida Occulta / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spina Bifida Occulta / physiopathology
  • Spina Bifida Occulta / surgery
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / surgery
  • Suppuration / microbiology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents