Thoracic spine infection debridement is an essential procedure that removes the infected tissue from the spine. Spinal infections, while treatable, do have a high mortality rate (20% by some estimates). They can be caused by numerous factors, including intravenous drug use and complications from other surgeries. To find out more about infection debridement and spinal infections, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health by calling Call407-303-5452.

Who’s at Risk for Spinal Infections?

Those most at risk of developing spinal infections are intravenous drug users and individuals over the age of 50. However, it is important to note that infections can develop at any age, and can be found across both genders and all ethnicities. Up to 65,000 people develop spinal infections each year (estimates of infection development vary).

There are several different factors that can make an individual more susceptible to spinal infection. These include age and intravenous drug use as mentioned, but also include HIV infection, steroid use over a long period, cancer, malnutrition, diabetes and organ transplant, as well. Those undergoing spinal surgery also face an increased risk of infection – the duration and type of surgery (open or minimally invasive) will play the most prominent roles. Blood loss and hardware installation are also factors.

What Is Infection Debridement?

Infection debridement is really nothing more than the removal of the infected tissue in the spine. It is most common in patients with abscesses (either epidural or paraspinal). Infections within disc space are often treated with percutaneous transpedicular drainage rather than debridement.

The time of infection development will play a role in the type of debridement used as well as other factors (including hardware removal). For instance, infections that develop in a relatively short period (within 1 month of surgery) generally go through delayed incision closure, as well as multiple debridement of the infected tissue. Hardware is generally left in place in these instances. Patients who develop infections later than this (nine or more months after surgery) are generally treated with open debridement. The hardware installed is also usually removed during this procedure.

While some surgeons might choose to provide single infection debridement treatments, multiple debridement procedures are generally more successful. Multiple debridement treatments result in a higher rate of healthy tissue generation and decreasing C-reactive protein presence (indicating success).

Symptoms of Spinal Infection

Often, the symptoms of a spinal infection are difficult to determine for the patient. While different types of infection will determine the exact symptoms suffered, some of the most common include wound drainage (in the case of infection post-surgery), as well as a swollen incision site. Severe back pain and weight loss, as well as muscle spasms and fever can also be signs of infection, as can neurological deficits.

For More Information

After spinal surgery, most patients suffer no infections, but it is possible. If you feel that you are suffering from a spinal infection and to learn more about spinal infection debridement, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health by calling Call407-303-5452.