Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist Warning Signs Outlook Complications Underlying Cause localized spread metastatic spread Anatomy

Abscess Brain Underlying Cause

Brain abscesses are caused by an infection with bacteria, parasites, or fungi.

The most common organisms responsible for brain abscess include:

  • Streptococcus
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Enterobacter
  • Proteus
  • Pneumococci
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Fungi

There are two main ways in which a brain abscess can form:
  • Infection of the brain tissue or surrounding structures
  • Metastatic spread:
    • Spread of organisms via the bloodstream, from another site of infection

Abscess Brain Localized Spread

The majority of brain abscesses result from infection of the structures near the brain.

Structures include:

  • Sinuses
  • Middle ear
  • Tissue that surrounds the brain
  • Skull

Abscess Brain Metastatic Spread

Metastatic spread occurs via the bloodstream, from an infection in another location in the body.

Locations include:

Continue to Abscess Brain Anatomy

Last Updated: Dec 2, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Abscess Brain References
  1. Bernardini GL. Diagnosis and management of brain abscess and subdural empyema. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2004 Nov;4(6):448-56. [15509445]
  2. Roche M, Humphreys H, Smyth E, et al. A twelve-year review of central nervous system bacterial abscesses; presentation and aetiology. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2003 Aug;9(8):803-9. [14616700]
  3. Xiao F, Tseng MY, Teng LJ, Tseng HM, Tsai JC. Brain abscess: clinical experience and analysis of prognostic factors. Surg Neurol. 2005 May;63(5):442-9; discussion 449-50. [1588306]
  4. Yogev R, Bar-Meir M. Management of brain abscesses in children. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2004 Feb;23(2):157-9. [14872183]
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