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A 30-year-old member asked:

is it possible to have osteomyelitis of your spine without a fever?

3 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jay Park
Dr. Jay Park answered
Pediatrics 50 years experience
Very unlikely: I wonder if the patient had a diskitis, an extension of subacute osteomyelitis of vertebra to "disk." affected children often refuse to walk or limp. Older children complain of back pain. They usually run low-grade fever.
Dr. Kris Radcliff
Specializes in Orthopedic Spine Surgery
Yes: Most patients with osteomyelitis/discitis do not have fever. It presents with back pain at first with or without neurological symptoms. It often occurs in people with compromised overall health, such as people with immune diseases, diabetes, renal failure, or intravenous drug abusers. If you suspect that you have a spinal infection then you should undergo MRI with contrast immediately.
Dr. Michael Ein
Infectious Disease 48 years experience
Yes: Fever occurs in less than 50% of vertebral osteomyelitis cases. Back pain and an elevated sedimentation rate both occur in greater than 90% of cases. Mri scan is by far the most sensitive and specific test to confirm the diagnosis and to insure there is no para vertebral spread of infection.

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Last updated Dec 27, 2014
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