Management of brain abscesses in children

James L. Frazier, Edward S. Ahn, George I. Jallo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Brain abscesses occur infrequently but continue to be problematic for the pediatric neurosurgical community. The incidence of brain abscesses in children has not changed much, although individual reports may show an increase or decrease in the number of reported cases depending on the patient population studied. An increase could be attributed to earlier detection due to advancements in imaging modalities and/or to an increase in the number of children with immunodeficient states caused by AIDS, chemotherapy for malignant lesions, and immunosuppressive therapy for organ transplantation. A decrease in the incidence of brain abscesses could be attributed to practices such as antibiotic treatment for otitis media, sinusitis, and/or prophylactic antimicrobial treatment for congenital heart disease in children. The morbidity and mortality rates associated with brain abscesses have not changed dramatically in the antibiotic and imaging era, and their preferred management can vary among healthcare providers. These lesions have been successfully treated by neurosurgeons. The causes of brain abscesses are highly variable in children, which is also the case in adults, but the predisposing factors in the pediatric population differ in prevalence. Cyanotic congenital heart disease, hematogenous dissemination, contiguous infection, and penetrating traumatic injuries are the most common causes of brain abscesses in children. In this review, the authors discuss the causes and medical and surgical management of brain abscesses in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE8
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008


  • Brain abscess
  • Craiotonomy
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Stereotactic aspiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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