Extensive spinal epidural abscesses (SEAs) occupying three or more spinal regions are rare. This study aimed to address the key dilemma of surgical treatment for holospinal epidural abscesses, i.e., to determine the required scope of surgery and minimize surgical trauma with adequate purulent drainage.
Two patients with extensive SEAs were treated at the Neurosurgery Department of the Central Hospital of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine from 2018 to 2020. Both patients had a neurological deficit and general inflammatory response syndrome. Spinal magnetic resonance examinations were performed, showing that the first and second patients had extensive SEAs at T11/S1 and C2/L1, respectively. Both underwent minimally invasive abscess drainage via intra- and translaminar access at the most caudal point using an epidural silicone catheter in the cranial direction along the entire length of the abscess.
To achieve the key goal of extensive SEA treatment, i.e., to prevent the development of a persistent neurological deficit, immediate effective spinal canal decompression should be performed. Access method and scope should meet the requirements of spinal canal decompression and purulent content aspiration to the greatest possible extent while inducing minimal trauma.