Arachnoiditis is an inflammaiton condition of the arachnoid membranes or 'arachnoid', one of the membranes known as meninges that surround and protect the nerves of the central nervous system, including the human brain and spinal cord in the back .
The arachnoid can become infected as adverse reactions to chemicals, infection from bacteria or viruses , as the result of direct injury to the spine, chronic compression of spinal nerves, complications from spinal surgery or other invasive spinal procedures, or the accidental intrathecal injection of steroids intended for the epidural space.
Inflammation can sometimes lead to the formation of scar tissue and adhesion that can make the spinal nerves "stick" together or a condition where such tissue develops in and between the leptomeninges.
The condition is extremely painful, especially when progressing to adhesive arachnoiditis . Another form of the condition is arachnoiditis ossificans , in which the arachnoid becomes ossified , or turns to bone, and is thought to be a late-stage complication of the adhesive form of arachnoiditis.
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For the ossificans form of the condition, unenhanced CT may better show the presence and extent of arachnoid ossifications, and is complementary to MRI, as MRI can be less specific and findings can be confused with regions of calcification or hemosiderin.]
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