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Illness & Conditions - Definition

Brain Abscess

Brain Abscess

A brain abscess is a pocket of infection that forms in the brain. Depending on its size and location, a brain abscess may cause headaches, personality changes, one-sided weakness, fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, and seizures.

Brain abscesses are not common. They may be caused by:

  • The spread of infection from somewhere else in the head, such as the gums (gingivitis), mouth, nose, ear, or sinus.
  • A deep head wound that penetrates the brain.
  • Infection that has traveled through the bloodstream from somewhere else in the body.

Treatment includes medicine to fight the infection and decrease swelling in the brain. In some cases a brain abscess requires surgical drainage.

Current as of: March 12, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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