Bacterial Infections of the Spine

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Topic Overview

Bacterial infections of the spine are rare but can include infection of:

  • The discs (discitis).
  • The spinal cord (usually an infection of the tissue covering the spinal cord, called an epidural abscess).
  • One or more vertebrae (osteomyelitis).
  • The facet joints, which may be the site of infectious arthritis.

Bacteria that infect the spine usually originate in other parts of the body and are carried to the spine through the bloodstream. But bacteria can enter the spine directly during surgery or injection treatments, as the result of injury, or as a result of IV drug use.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

Current as ofNovember 29, 2017

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Bacterial Infections of the Spine