MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Brain Abscess

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Aug 2022| Content last modified Sep 2022
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION
Get the full details

What is a brain abscess?

An abscess is a pocket of pus. A brain abscess is a pocket of pus in your brain.

What causes a brain abscess?

An abscess is caused by an infection from bacteria, fungi, or parasites. The infection usually starts somewhere else and goes to your brain.

  • Infections can spread from another place in your head, such as your tooth, sinuses, or ear

  • Infections can travel through your blood from another part of your body

Sometimes infections enter your brain when you have a bad head injury or brain surgery.

What are the symptoms of a brain abscess?

A brain abscess can cause different symptoms, depending on where it is and how much it swells. Symptoms can include:

How can doctors tell if I have a brain abscess?

How do doctors treat a brain abscess?

Doctors treat a brain abscess using:

  • Antibiotics for 4 to 6 weeks to get rid of the infection

  • Corticosteroids to lower swelling in your brain

  • Medicines to prevent seizures

  • Sometimes draining the abscess with a needle

  • Sometimes doing surgery to remove the whole abscess

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION
quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz! 
iOS ANDROID
iOS ANDROID
iOS ANDROID
TOP