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The epidural space is the outermost part of the spinal canal. It contains a network of internal vertebral venous plexuses along with connective tissue, fatty tissue, arteries, lymphatics, and spinal nerve roots. A spinal epidural abscess is a collection of pus in the epidural space, typically in the thoracic or lumbar region. Caused by infection, this excess collection of fluid can compress the spinal cord, resulting in serious complications including complete flaccid paralysis, a loss of sensation and reflex activity, paraplegia, quadriplegia, and death.

Early diagnosis of spinal epidural abscess is essential for proper treatment. Some damage done to the spine cannot be reversed, making it very important that you visit a doctor at the first sign of symptoms. Proper diagnostics, including MRI or Myelography followed by CT in cases where an MRI is not available, can allow for swift treatment, which is essential for mitigating neurological deficits and reducing the risk of paralysis. When proper tests are not performed, diagnosis may be delayed, which can lead to serious or even fatal complications.

If a doctor’s failure to diagnose a spinal epidural abscess caused you significant harm, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Call Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King at 404-760-7400 to schedule a free consultation at our Atlanta office to learn how our medical malpractice attorneys can help.


Symptoms of spinal epidural abscess include:

  • Radicular back pain
  • Localized back pain
  • Severe percussion tenderness
  • Diminished muscle strength
  • Numbness in the buttocks, perineum, and inner thighs
  • Loss of bowel and bladder function

Fever is also a common sign of spinal epidural abscess.

Acute back pain that is atraumatic (not caused by injury) is often the first sign of a spinal epidural abscess. This pain, along with other symptoms, may get worse when you are lying down and may progress over a period of days.

These symptoms need to be brought to the attention of a doctor who can run tests to determine if a spinal epidural abscess is present and how best to treat it. This may include draining the abscess and administering antibiotics. In some cases, an aminoglycoside will be administered as well.

Medical professionals have a duty to listen to patients, conduct appropriate tests, and administer effective treatment. Failure to do so may make them liable for injuries that result. If you are facing the consequences of an undiagnosed spinal epidural abscess, Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King is here to help. Call our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers to schedule your complimentary consultation and learn more.


Although the cause of the disease is not always conclusive, risk factors for a spinal epidural abscess include:

  • Ear infection
  • Sinus infection
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth infection
  • Mastoiditis
  • Bone infection
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Head injury
  • Surgical Errors
  • Back and scalp boils

In some cases, a spinal epidural abscess will be the result of Pott Disease or an abscess in the peritoneum. It may also be a result of infected instrumentation used during dental or medical treatments.

Risk factors like these should be assessed by a medical professional when symptoms of spinal epidural abscess are present. Failure to assess risk factors can result in a failure to diagnose, which may be a type of medical malpractice. We are here to review your case, free of cost and obligation, to help you determine if you have cause to file suit.

To schedule a free case review at our Atlanta office, please call 404-760-7400 today. Our attorneys fight for victims of medical malpractice living in Columbus, Decatur, Savannah, Augusta, and all surrounding areas of Georgia.