The purpose of the present case report is to highlight the presentation, workup, clinical decision making, and operative intervention for a 68-year-old woman who developed rapidly progressive myelopathy secondary to idiopathic cervical intramedullary abscess.
The patient underwent laminectomy and aspiration/biopsy of the lesion. Intraoperatively, division of the posterior median sulcus released a large volume of purulent material growing the oral pathogens Eikenella corrodens and Gemella morbillorum. Broad-spectrum antibiotics were initiated postoperatively. At the 6-month follow-up, the patient had almost completely recovered with some persistent hand dysesthesia. Complete infectious workup, including full dental assessment and an echocardiogram, failed to reveal the source of her infection.
The authors report the first case of cryptogenic spinal intramedullary abscess secondary to Eikenella spp. and Gemella spp. coinfection. Intramedullary abscesses are exceptionally rare and most commonly develop in children with dermal sinus malformations or in the context of immunosuppression. In adults without risk factors, they can readily be mistaken for more common pathologies in this age group, such as intramedullary neoplasms or demyelinating disease. Prompt diagnosis and management based on rapidly progressive myelopathy, assessment of infectious risk factors and/or symptoms, and targeted imaging are critical to avoid potentially devastating neurological sequelae.