Infection debridement is the process of removing infection and infected tissue and material from the spine. It is necessary when patients present with spinal infections, but can also be necessary when a patient develops an infection after undergoing spinal surgery. Debridement and other methods are used to remove infection, clean the infected area, drain infection and restore spinal health. For more information about infection debridement, spinal infection types and symptoms of infection, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health by calling Call407-303-5452.

Spinal Infections –Types, Causes and Symptoms

Spinal infections that are not the result of complications from surgery are rare. However, they do exist, and there are several types. Any type of spinal infection can cause immense damage to the patient, and can lead to death if not treated properly. In most instances, the infection can be traced to one of three possible underlying causes, including tuberculosis, a bacterial infection, or a fungal infection. Bacterial infections are the most common of the three. These can present in different ways, including:

  • Vertebral Infection – This is called vertebral osteomyelitis.
  • Disc Infection – An infection of a spinal disc or discs is called discitis.
  • Spinal Canal Infection with Pus – An infection of the spinal canal with pus is called an epidural abscess.

The symptoms of spinal infection can range from unnoticeable to neck stiffness, neck pain, decreased range of motion in the neck or back, numbness, weakness of the back, fever, loss of appetite and more. However, of all of these, neck pain is the most commonly reported symptom.

Treating Spinal Infections

Mild infections are generally treated with antibiotics, but this will not work for all cases. Advanced cases where the infection has spread will require infection debridement. This can be done alone, or it can be done in conjunction with a corpectomy and fusion, or discectomy and fusion. In all instances, the debridement process is similar.

After opening the area for surgery, the surgeon will use laparoscopic equipment to locate the infected tissue and remove it. In the case of an abscess, the fluid and pus must be drained. Removal of the infected tissue is followed by antiseptic cleansing and sometimes by the application of antibiotics, but this is by no means uniform and will depend on the surgeon’s determination of the appropriate action.

Spinal Infection after Surgery

Spinal surgery, particularly open surgery as opposed to minimally invasive procedures, can leave a patient at greater risk for infection. The use of hardware in spinal fusion procedures can also increase the risk of infection. In most instances where a patient develops an infection after surgery, the surgeon will perform infection debridement of the tissues. The hardware may or may not be removed (new surgeries usually do not require the removal of the hardware, but older installations may require removal).

For more information about infection debridement and other treatments for spinal infections, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health. To make an appointment for a consultation on your situation, call Call407-303-5452.