Retrospective review of 13 cases with craniovertebral tuberculosis treated conservatively.
To evaluate the results of conservative treatment of craniovertebral tuberculosis and compare with the literature.
Summary of Background Data.
Craniovertebral tuberculosis is a rare entity even in endemic countries, and there is no consensus in the literature regarding conservative or surgical management for the same. Reports range from radical surgery to totally conservative approach. We report our experience in treating such patients conservatively.
A retrospective review of 13 patients diagnosed with craniovertebral tuberculosis was performed. All patients were treated conservatively with cervical traction for initial 3 months followed by a brace along with multidrug antitubercular drugs for 18 months.
All patients responded favorably to conservative treatment. Follow-up averaged 43 months (range, 16–65 months). No patient deteriorated neurologically. All patients had symptomatic improvement. Failure to reduce atlantoaxial dislocation/lateral subluxation of the dens completely was seen in 2 cases.
We think that all patients with craniovertebral junction tuberculosis can be managed adequately using conservative means regardless of the extent of bony destruction with a good patient outcome. Surgery should be reserved for only a selective few where diagnosis is in doubt and there is initial severe or progressive neural deficit with/without respiratory distress in presence of documented mechanical compression and documented dynamic instability following conservative treatment.