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NORD is very grateful to J. Antonio Aldrete, MD, MS, Professor Emeritus. Dept. of Anesthesiology, University of Alabama Birmingham, for assistance in the preparation of this report.
Synonyms of Arachnoiditis
- spinal arachnoiditis
- adhesive arachnoiditis
- arachnoiditis ossificans
- cerebral arachnoiditis
- hereditary arachnoiditis
- neoplastic arachnoiditis
- optochiasmatic arachnoiditis
- postmyelographic arachnoiditis
- rhinosinusogenic cerebral arachnoiditis
Arachnoiditis is a disease characterized by an acute inflammatory stage that occurs in the dura (exterior) and the arachnoid (interior), two of the three membranes that cover and protect the brain, the spinal cord and the nerve roots. The arachnoid contains the cerebrospinal fluid which circulates from the brain to the sacral area, about every two hours; it filters any invasion and usually responds first by inflammation and follows with a chronic stage life-lasting phase characterized by scarring and fibrosis. As a result, abnormal adhesion of nerve roots to the dural sac or to each other (clumping) occurs in a variety of configurations that alter significantly the function of the roots and the spinal cord. This causes a variety of neurological deficits and severe chronic neuropathic pain usually located in the area affected. In the pre-antibiotic era, severe cases of tuberculosis or syphilis invaded the spine causing arachnoiditis; currently these infections are rare, but it is important to mention that arachnoiditis will result in most patients affected by fungal meningitis from attempted epidural injections of tainted steroids.
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