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Healthwise Catholic Symptom Checker - Definition

Search Health Information    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.

Last Revised: August 28, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

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

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