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What is Brain Abscess? Print E-mail
Written by Glenn Rosenberg   
Thursday, 08 October 2009
A brain abscess is an area of infection within the brain.
What is going on in the body?

A brain abscess is an area of infection within the brain that is usually separated from the rest of the brain by tissue. The abscess is toxic to the surrounding brain and produces swelling, pressure, and inflammation.
It can also result in swelling of the brain tissue.
What are the causes and risks of the infection?

A brain abscess is generally caused by bacterial spread from an infection elsewhere in the body. These infections include:
- a blood infection known as sepsis
- sinusitis
- post-operative infections

A person with HIV is more likely to have brain abscesses due to his or her weakened immune system.

Brain abscesses expand over time, placing the surrounding brain at risk. If left untreated, the increasing size of the abscess will cause death.

What are the treatments for the infection?

Antibiotic medication will be given as treatment, usually followed by surgery. Since the abscess is blocked off from the rest of the brain, the antibiotics generally treat the surrounding brain. This helps to avoid infection of that part of the brain during and after surgery. There is a low risk of death during or from surgery, but there is a greater risk of death for those with HIV.
What are the side effects of the treatments?

Infection to the part of the brain being operated on can lead to death or high rates of re-infection.
What happens after treatment for the infection?

Testing for HIV, AIDS, or other diseases such as diabetes is crucial in determining appropriate follow-up treatment.

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