UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Visual Diagnosis

Title: Cervical Spine Pathology

Keywords: C Spine, osteomyelitis, (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/25/2023 by Robert Flint, MD (Updated: 5/21/2024)
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Neck pain and trouble swalowing. No trauma.


Osteomyelitis of the cervical spine is the least common location to find spinal infection. “Osteomyelitis of the cervical spine is a rare disease, representing only 3% – 6% of all cases of vertebral osteomyelitis. In contrast with other locations of spinal infections, osteomyelitis of the cervical spine can be a much more dramatic and rapidly deteriorating process, leading to early neurologic deficit”.

Note the bony destruction as well as the abscess labeled on the lateral view. 


Robert D. Flint,
Neck pain and difficulty swallowing,
Visual Journal of Emergency Medicine,
Volume 31,
ISSN 2405-4690,
Keywords: Cervical spine disease; Osteomyelitis; Substance use disorder