Management of an extensive spinal epidural abscess from C-1 to the sacrum

Case report

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The authors report a rare case of extensive spinal epidural abscess in an immunocompromised young woman. The patient presented with low-grade fever, back pain, and progressive lower limb weakness. The MR imaging of her whole spine revealed an epidural abscess extending from C-1 to the sacrum. She was treated using a minimally invasive surgical technique and showed excellent recovery. The authors review the current literature along with different modes of surgical treatment available for this unusual clinical entity.

Abbreviation used in this paper: SEA = spinal epidural abscess.

Article Information

Address correspondence to: S. Ather Enam, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurosurgery, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan. email:

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.



  • View in gallery

    Postcontrast T1-weighted axial MR imaging of the cervical (A), thoracic (B), and lumbosacral (C) spine showing an enhancing extensive SEA. Note the different locations of the abscess in relation to dura in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions (arrows).

  • View in gallery

    Postcontrast T1-weighted sagittal MR imaging of the cervical (A), thoracic (B), and lumbosacral (C) spine showing an enhancing extensive SEA (arrows).



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