The NeuroMedical Center | Patient Education Library | Brain Abscess

What Is a Brain Abscess?

Brain Abscesses are pockets of pus in your brain. Tissue has grown around it, walling it off from the rest of your body. The mass is filled with white blood cells, dead tissue, and germs. These can grow and press harmfully against your brain, causing a medical emergency.

Causes & Risk factors

An abscess in the brain of an otherwise healthy person is usually caused by bacterial infection. Germs can get into your brain during surgery or in through a head wound.  Fungal brain abscesses tend to occur in people with weakened immune systems. The infection will cause your brain to swell from the collection of pus and dead cells that forms.  

Nearly anyone can get a brain abscess, but certain groups of people are at a higher risk than others. Some diseases, disorders, and conditions that raise your risk include:

  • A Compromised Immune System Due to HIV or AIDs
  • Cancer or Chronic Illness
  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Major Head Injury or Skull Fracture
  • Meningitis
  • Chemotherapy Drugs
  • Chronic Sinus or Middle Ear Infections


The symptoms of a brain abscess usually develop slowly over several weeks but can also suddenly. Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Headaches, Vomiting, Fever, & Chills
  • Differences in Mental Processes Including Increased Confusion
  • Problems with Language, Vision, and Sensation
  • Sensitivity to Light
A seizure may be the first sign of a brain abscess. Get medical care as soon as possible. 


Some abscesses can be treated with medicine. You may need a procedure or surgery to relieve pressure in your brain.  The sooner a person receives treatment, the more likely it is to be effective. An abscess can return after months or years, so long-term monitoring of this condition will be recommended.

If you have been diagnosed with a brain abscess, seek specialized care from a leading team of neurological experts highly experienced in diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating brain abscesses. Schedule an appointment by calling us today (225) 768-2050 or by requesting an appointment online.