Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Eur Spine J. 2013 May;22 Suppl 3:S497-500. doi: 10.1007/s00586-013-2700-1. Epub 2013 Feb 9.

Chronic spinal subdural abscess mimicking an intradural-extramedullary tumor.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Gangnam Severance Spine Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 146-92, Dogok-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, 135-720, South Korea.


Spinal subdural abscesses (SSA) are very rare disease. The etiologies of SSA are hematogenous spread, iatrogenic contamination, and local extension. Elevated WBC counts, ESR, and C-reactive protein are usually found in laboratory tests. But they are not sensitive indicators of SSA, especially chronic abscesses patient tend to have a less specific characteristic. We report the case of a healthy man with chronic subdural abscess referred to our hospital as an intradural-extramedullary (IDEM) tumor. The patient presented with voiding difficulty and pain in the back and left leg. In a contrast MRI scan, a rim-enhanced mass-like lesion was seen at the L5/S1 level. But adjacent ill-defined epidural fat enhancement that are unusual imaging manifestation for IDEM tumors was seen. He had no fever and normal WBC, ESR, and CRP. In addition, the patient had no previous infection history or other disease, but he did have an epidural block for back pain at another hospital 2 years previously. So, we repeated the MRI with a high-resolution 3-T scanner. The newly taken MR images in our hospital revealed a clear enlargement of lesion size compared to the previous MRI taken 1 week before in other hospital. We suspected a chronic spinal subdural abscess with recent aggravation and immediately performed surgical evacuation. In the surgical field, tensed dura was observed and pus was identified after opening the abscess capsule. Because chronic spinal subdural abscesses are difficult to diagnose, we could differentiate with IDEM tumor exactly and an exact history taking, contrast MRI are required.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk