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BMJ Case Rep. 2010; 2010: bcr1120092505.
Published online 2010 September 29. doi:  10.1136/bcr.11.2009.2505
PMCID: PMC3027971
Reminder of important clinical lesson

Spontaneous abscess of the lumbar spine presenting as subacute back pain


A 52-year-old lady was admitted with back pain, fever and reduced sensation in her left leg. Soon after admission she developed acute urinary retention. She underwent urgent MRI of the spine which showed an epidural abscess compressing the thecal sac which was treated with neurosurgical decompression and intravenous/oral antibiotics. Cultures from theatre grew Staphylococcus aureus sensitive to flucloxacillin. After 12 weeks of intravenous/oral antibiotics, she was discharged without any neurological disability.

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