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To protect you, your family and the staff of RNOH Private Care, we now have the facilities to offer video consultations. Your consultant will tell you if your appointment is to be carried out in this way and their practice secretary will provide you with all of the information you need to do this.

If you are asked to attend RNOH Private Care outpatient centre for your appointment, please ensure that you read the information below and follow any social distancing instructions when you arrive at the hospital:


If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, do not leave your home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. The symptoms are:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999. You can find the latest information and advice at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.


  • wash your hands with soap and water often – alcohol gel is effective against respiratory viruses
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell


  • touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

The intervertebral discs, the vertebral column (bones), the dural sac or the space around the spinal cord may become infected caused by bacteria or fungal organisms.

More Information

The symptoms of a spinal infection can present in subtle and very severe ways and include: -

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • A headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Pain
  • Wound redness and tenderness
  • Wound drainage

In the arms and legs, you may experience

  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling sensations


Your GP will begin with a physical examination and questions to screen for risk factors associated with the diagnosis of a spinal infection.

If a spinal infection is suspected, your GP may require further testing that could include: -

  • X-ray imaging,
  • CT or CAT (computerised tomography) scans or
  • MRI scans
  • Bone scan
  • Tagged white blood cell scan

If the above confirm an infection, the next step is to diagnose the cause - bacteria or fungus. Blood cultures grow from samples taken near the would or infected area. In the case of deep infections of the bones or disc, a needle culture is made using a local anaesthetic and x-ray guidance.

There are additional infection tests your GP may conduct at the same time such as: -

  • A white blood cell (WBC) count
  • c-reactive protein (CRP)
  • erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)

After an operation, one of the causes of spinal infection, these test results may be elevated, but typically return to normal within a few weeks. Unusual elevation may be a sign of infection.

One cause of spinal infection is post-surgery, but they may occur in spontaneously from certain risk factors: -

  • Poor nutrition
  • Smoking
  • Immune suppression
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity


Nonsurgical treatment length and type depends on the severity and cause of infection and includes:-

  • Antibiotic medications
  • Anti-fungal medications

The duration of treatment can be 7-10 days or 6-12 weeks and administered through a course of pills orally or intravenously.

Surgery - Postoperative infections may require the infected tissue and bacteria to be washed away through surgery. If the infection has caused any weakness in the spine, further surgery may resolve this and relieve any pressure on the spinal cord.


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