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Spinal Tuberculosis

A Literature Review

Ali, Ahmed BSc(Hons)1; Musbahi, Omar BEng(Hons), MBBS2; White, Veronica L.C. FRCP3; Montgomery, Alexander Sheriff FRCS3

doi: 10.2106/JBJS.RVW.18.00035
Review Articles

  • * Spinal tuberculosis (STB) is a common form of extrapulmonary tuberculosis (TB), accounting for 3.7% of TB cases in the United States.
  • * The most common presentation is chronic back pain, for which the diagnosis of STB can be easily overlooked, leading to the development of neurological deficits and osseous deformities of the spine.
  • * The risk of TB is increasing as a result of multidrug-resistant TB strains.
  • * The first line of treatment is antitubercular medical therapy, with surgical intervention being indicated for decompression of neurological elements that have been unresponsive to medical therapy, the restoration of spinal stability, and the correction of deformity.
  • * Early diagnosis and treatment improve the prognosis.
  • * This review of the current literature on STB offers an insight into our experience on STB treatment at a western STB specialist hospital.

1Bart’s and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, England

2Oxford University Clinical Academic Graduate School, Oxford University, Oxford, England

3Department of Respiratory Medicine and Infectious Diseases (V.L.C.W.) and Spinal Department (A.S.M.), Royal London Hospital, London, England

E-mail address for A. Ali:

Investigation performed at Bart’s and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, and the Spinal Department, Royal London Hospital, London, England

Disclosure: No external funds were received in support of this study. The Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest forms are provided with the online version of the article (

Copyright © 2019 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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