Minimally Invasive Treatment: Spinal Infections

While we mostly focus on minimally invasive procedures here at Virginia Spine Specialists, we also offer treatment programs for those afflicted by diseases and infections of the spine. Spinal infections usually occur following an open back operation, but can spontaneously occur in patients with certain risk factors such as poor nutrition, HIV and other STDs, cancer, diabetes and obesity.  Infection is always a risk whenever any open surgery is performed and long surgical time, unsterilized instrumentation and re-operation increase that risk. Minimally invasive operations reduce that risk because the incisions made are typically smaller in size and less contact is had with the inner organs. The majority of surgical related infections will occur between three days and three months after the procedure.

Symptoms of a spinal infection include but are not limited too:

·       Fever and chills

·       Headache

·       Neck pain or stiffness

·       Inflamed area around the wound or leakage from wound

Weakness, numbness or tingling sensations in the arms and/or legs are also not uncommon in cases of infection, and symptoms may vary in severity.  Your doctor will probably run a series of tests to diagnose your infection, such as blood tests, MRIs, X-rays, or extract cultures from your wound area. The course of treatment will depend on the severity of the infection and the organism causing the infection. Most infections can be treated through prescription antibiotic and anti-fungal medications. The type and the duration of the treatment depend on the type of infection and its severity. For more serious infections, medications may be administered orally or intravenously through an IV.  Treatment can last anywhere from 7-10 days, to as long as 6-12 weeks. A central IV line may be required in long-term cases where medication is administered via a home nurse or agency.  It’s not unlikely that your doctor may a spinal brace during treatment to for healing and pain purposes.

As always, “These articles are meant for general education and are not intended to diagnose, prevent or treat a specific disease. Please see Dr. Sharma for questions regarding the specific treatment of your symptoms.”

For more information about minimally invasive procedures or to schedule a consultation on your own, please contact us.