By Dr. Vineet Varghese, Neurosurgery
An abscess, or pus-filled lump, in the brain usually leads to infections in the brain.
A brain infection forms when bacteria, virus or fungi travel to your brain through the bloodstream. The bacteria or fungi usually enter your body through an open wound on some other part of your body.
The causes of brain infections include:
- Weakened immune system due to AIDS or HIV
- Congenital heart diseases
- Skull fracture or major head trauma
- Meningitis (Inflammation of the spinal cord and brain membranes)
- Chemotherapy (Immunosuppressant drugs are harmful)
- Chronic sinus
- Ear infections
Symptoms that develop include:
- Cognitive difficulties
- Decreased speech
- Decreased sensation
- Loss of muscle function, which decreases movement
- Vision changes
- Behaviour or personality changes
Since brain infection is a serious condition, a hospital stay is required. If the abscess is shallow, more than one type of antibiotics will be used to treat it. If the abscess is deep inside the brain, then surgery is the only option. Other reasons why surgery could be done include:
- When the abscess ruptures the skull.
- The bacteria produce gas in the brain.
Sometimes infection leads to blockage in the brain and requires shunt procedure to treat which is a safe and effective methodology. Also, infection inside the brain and less commonly in the spine can lead to pus formation or mass which needs removal for a complete cure or urgent life-saving procedure.
The best way to prevent brain infection is to monitor any underlying condition, such as a heart disorder that you might have; and taking antibiotics prescribed by your doctor before urological or dental procedures.