What is a Psoas Abscess?
“Psoas” is a short word for Iliopsoas, a muscle that is located at the lower spine area up to the hip region (groin). The psoas muscle is responsible for moving and flexing the thighs and trunk muscles. Just like any other muscle, the psoas can be affected by infections. Psoas abscesses are, however, a rare condition. The abscess is enclosed in a capsule where there is a collection of pus, mucus, fluids and microorganisms that is causing it.
What causes psoas abscess to form? - The usual suspect for this infection is the Staphylococcus Aureus Bacteria. 80% of these conditions are caused by this bug (including skin diseases and boils). The other organism that can cause the problem is the Serratia Marcescens (usually from a hospital-acquired infection).
What are the signs and symptoms of a Psoas Abscess?
The location of the psoas muscle is from the lower spine down to the hips. And there will be an expected pain over these areas like the:
- Lower back
- Pelvic region (hips)
Apart from pain, here are other possible symptoms:
- Fever – elevation in body temperature due to infection
- Bladder problems – frequency in urination or there is a sensation of urgency
- Changes in gait or mobility – the muscles are weakened and therefore there will be changes in balance and walking.
How is a Psoas Abscess Diagnosed?
Diagnostic tests are responsible for detecting the causative organism for psoas abscess like the following:
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) – to check for the levels of red blood cells (to determine signs of anemia). CBC is also to check for the amount of White Blood Cells. Elevation of this above normal is a sign of infection.
- Blood culture – to detect if the microorganisms have spread in the entire body (causing systemic infection).
- Ultrasound of the abdomen – an imaging test to assess for any growths and their measurements.
- Computerized Tomography of the abdomen – to detect the size and exact location of the abscess (by providing vertical and horizontal slices of the abdomen).
What are the medical treatments for Psoas Abscess?
Medications which are prescribed to a person with psoas abscess may include:
- Antibiotics – to kill the microorganisms causing it.
- Antipyretic – for fever, to normalize body temperature.
- Pain killers – for relief and pain reduction.
The infection can be surgically removed via the following procedures:
- Abscess drainage by securing draining tubes in place.
- Surgical debridement – procedure done to remove bacteria in the psoas muscle by incising them and by removing some of the muscle tissues affected. Surgical debridement of is done to eradicate the bacterial infestation and to disinfect the affected area, preventing its spread to nearby tissues or organs.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation – is another treatment option for patients whose gait and mobility are affected. This is to restore the normal movement and functioning of the lower limbs.
Recovery from a psoas abscess is good, most especially when diagnosis and treatment are provided early.
Read more on abscess treatment here.