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Pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of brain abscess

Author
Frederick S Southwick, MD
Section Editor
Stephen B Calderwood, MD
Deputy Editor
Anna R Thorner, MD

INTRODUCTION

Brain abscess is a focal collection within the brain parenchyma, which can arise as a complication of a variety of infections, trauma, or surgery.

The pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of brain abscess will be presented here. The treatment and prognosis of this disease are discussed separately. (See "Treatment and prognosis of bacterial brain abscess".)

PATHOGENESIS

Bacteria can invade the brain either by direct spread or through hematogenous seeding [1]. Direct spread accounts for 20 to 60 percent of cases [2]. Bacteremic spread typically causes multiple lesions [3].

Direct spread — The direct spread of organisms from a contiguous site usually causes a single brain abscess. Primary infections that can directly spread to the cerebral cortex include [4-8]:

Subacute and chronic otitis media and mastoiditis (spread to the inferior temporal lobe and cerebellum)

                     

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Fri Dec 04 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2015.
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