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Interv Neuroradiol. 2011 Dec;17(4):482-5. Epub 2011 Dec 16.

The sacral hiatus approach for drainage of anterior lumbo-sacral epidural abscesses. A case report and technical note.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA.


Lumbosacral epidural abscesses are managed either conservatively with IV antibiotics or with open surgery, particularly in the presence of acute neurological symptoms. Their location makes it difficult for image-guided interventional approaches either for biopsy or evacuation. We report the sacral hiatus and canal as a corridor for image-guided minimally invasive abscess of lumbosacral epidural abscess for aspiration. A 56-year-old man presented to the emergency department complaining of six weeks of worsening low back pain. MRI of the patient's lumbosacral spine showed osteomyelitis involving his L5, S1 vertebrae, L5-S1 discitis, as well as an anterior epidural abscess extending from L4-5 disc space to the S2 vertebral level. Blood cultures grew out gram-positive cocci. For drainage, a 5-French micropuncture kit was utilized to access the hiatus. Under fluoroscopic guidance a microwire was then advanced along the sacral canal. An 18-gauge needle curved to approximate the contours of the sacral canal was then advanced over the guidewire. Once anatomic access was established 2 ml of thick purulent material was aspirated. The patient tolerated the procedure well, and no focal nerve root symptoms were noted following the procedure. Image-guided aspiration of lumbosacral epidural abscesses can thus be carried out in a safe and effective manner using a sacral hiatus approach.

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