Discitis is an inflammation of the vertebral bodies and intervertebral discs. This inflammation is caused by a bacterial pathogen: If a pathogen such as Staphylococcus aureus enters the body, it can affect various organs, including the vertebral bodies and intervertebral discs. The vertebrae can be severely affected and the discs can even be destroyed.
After an initial painless phase, back pain occurs. Many patients also show typical symptoms of infection like fever or nocturnal sweating.
It is crucial to combat the infection successfully. If the disease is detected early, an antibiotic treatment may be enough. If the infection has spread into a vertebra or an intervertebral disc, however, surgery is often necessary. The infected tissue is removed and replaced by a suitable bone or intervertebral disc implant.