Author(s): Ergun T, Lakadamyali H, Gokay E
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Abstract We present a case of a posterior epidural abscess at the thoracic vertebral level causing paraparesia in a young, healthy individual with no otherwise predisposing factors, with normal laboratory findings, as diagnosed using fat-suppressed MR imaging. Spinal epidural abscess is a rare condition, encountered mostly in the midthoracic or lower lumbar vertebral levels of elderly patients, that has a high mortality and morbidity (18-31\%) when diagnosis and treatment is delayed. It is rarely spontaneous and is usually accompanied by spinal osteomyelitis. Diagnosis is rather easy in cases of vertebral osteomyelitis or when classical clinical, laboratory and imaging findings are present. However, cases of spontaneous development, with no predisposing factors, and lack of abscess suggesting clinical and laboratory findings may be a diagnostic challenge. In such cases, other posterior epidural masses such as schwannoma, neurofibroma, meningioma and hematoma should be considered in the differential diagnosis. Both the clinician and the radiology physician should have a high suspicion of epidural abscesses, because their early diagnosis and treatment is important. In addition to routine MR images, fat-suppressed MR images prove helpful in the diagnosis of spontaneous epidural abscesses by showing the inflammatory changes in the paraspinal area.
This article was published in Int J Emerg Med
and referenced in OMICS Journal of Radiology