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Spinal Infection - Introduction

The spinal column consists of bone structures (vertebrae), with cushions between them in the front (intervertebral discs) and ligaments and joints in the back (facet joints). Like other bone and soft tissue structures of the body, the spinal structures can be infected with different bacteria and through different routes of infection.

Who gets it and When/What causes this?

Spinal infections can be primary (spontaneous through blood supply) or secondary to a procedure on the spine. While spontaneous spinal infections usually occur in the elderly or people with a low immune system, a secondary infection can occur in anyone undergoing an invasive intervention to the spine. This ranges from just an injection, to very big operations.

Generally this condition occurs when the invading bacteria overcome the immune system of the patient. This explains also why it is relatively more common in old age and in patients with low immunity diseases such as AIDS, during or after chemotherapy treatment and patients with long history of cortisone therapy or diabetes. Another risk factor is the inadequate disinfection of the skin prior to any infiltration or surgery on the spine.
The Patient Line website offers information for patients with spinal conditions:
Sciatica, back pain, spinal stenosis, disc herniation, scoliosis and many other spine conditions explained in a clear reliable, and trustworthy way. Not for profit EUROSPINE experts are here to help patients and their families understand what may be worrying them.

EUROSPINE is a society of spine specialists of various disciplines with a large knowledge of spine pathologies. All well-known and accepted treatment modalities for spine pathologies are represented by the members of the society. However, the Society cannot accept any responsibility for the use of the information provided; the user and their health care professionals must retain responsibility for their health care management.
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page last updated on 06.03.2019