Article Abstract

Tophaceous gout of the cervical and thoracic spine with concomitant epidural infection

Authors: Christina W. Cheng, Quynh T. Nguyen, Haitao Zhou


Tophaceous gout of the spine is an underappreciated source of back pain in patients with or without neurological decline. It has been reported to occur in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. Rarely, does it occur at more than one region of the spine. Advanced imaging with magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography are usually not helpful in differentiating between infection, malignancy and gout. Clinician should have a high suspicion of spinal gout in patients with history of gout who presents with renal insufficiency, presence of peripheral tophi on exam, with elevated serum uric acid and creatinine levels, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein. Here we present a case of a 23-year-old male with history of gout and chronic renal disease with progressive weakness in his lower extremities with new urinary incontinence who was found to have spinal gout with epidural infection of both the cervical and thoracic spine. Our patient was successfully managed with surgical decompression followed by medical treatment with antibiotics and steroids.