Infections of the Spine: A Review of Clinical and Imaging Findings

Vikram K. Sundaram, MD; Amish Doshi, MD


Appl Radiol. 2016;45(8):10-20. 

In This Article


Imaging of the spine is an important aspect of the diagnosis and management of a patient with potential spinal infection. Prompt characterization of the presence and extent of disease, along with potential infectious etiologies, is essential for the patient to avoid delayed or improper treatment that may result in increased morbidity and mortality. This article will review pathophysiology, relevant clinical findings, common radiographic findings and potential follow-up for the more common causes of spinal infection. The aim is to discuss an approach to integrating imaging findings with the clinical picture for each patient. In this way, the radiologist, with improved diagnostic accuracy and a better understanding of clinical management, can offer informed and more relevant guidance to the ordering clinician.