A brain abscess is an infection within the brain. As the infection worsens, a pus-filled mass can grow, causing pressure on the structures within the brain. This may occur after brain surgery, or spread into the brain from nearby infections in the sinuses, ear or skin. Or an infection in the bloodstream can also lead to a brain abscess.
A brain abscess may be life-threatening if it causes a significant pressure inside your skull. The earlier the treatment begins, the better the outcome.
Brain abscess symptoms often develop quickly. They include:
A neurological exam will reveal signs of trouble in your brain. You and your doctor will discuss your symptoms. To confirm whether you have a brain abscess, your doctor may order imaging tests, such as an MRI or a CT scan, as well as blood tests to check for infection.
Brain abscess treatment options include emergency surgery to drain the abscess. The most common process is called a craniotomy, which involves removing a section of skull bone to reach the brain.
For serious sinus infections, doctors may also perform endoscopic sinus surgery, which involves draining the abscess through the ear. Your doctors will most likely also prescribe antibiotics for the infection.
Medications, including antibiotics and antifungals, are a good treatment option in certain cases.
If you have a brain abscess, your Aurora neurosurgical team, which includes the experts at the Aurora Neuroscience Innovation Institute (ANII), will work with you to determine the best treatment for your needs.