Spine Tuberculosis

Spine Tuberculosis

Spinal tuberculosis is a destructive form of tuberculosis. It accounts for approximately half of all cases of musculoskeletal tuberculosis. Spinal tuberculosis is more common in children and young adults. The incidence of spinal tuberculosis is increasing in developed nations. Genetic susceptibility to spinal tuberculosis has recently been demonstrated. Characteristically, there is destruction of the intervertebral disk space and the adjacent vertebral bodies, collapse of the spinal elements, and anterior wedging leading to kyphosis and gibbus formation. The thoracic region of vertebral column is most frequently affected. Formation of a ‘cold’ abscess around the lesion is another characteristic feature.

The incidence of multi-level noncontiguous vertebral tuberculosis occurs more frequently than previously recognized. Common clinical manifestations include constitutional symptoms, back pain, spinal tenderness, paraplegia, and spinal deformities.

Patient's Complaints

  •  It has no boundaries w.r.t age or sex
  •  Commonly upper or middle back pain
  •  Very severe cases present with paralysis
  •  Typically in absence of fever , weight, loss, cough

Causes

Tuberculosis can also affect other parts of your body, including your kidneys, spine or brain. When TB occurs outside your lungs, signs and symptoms vary according to the organs involved. For example, tuberculosis of the spine may give you back pain, and tuberculosis in your kidneys might cause blood in your urine.

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that spread from person to person through microscopic droplets released into the air. This can happen when someone with the untreated, active form of tuberculosis coughs, speaks, sneezes, spits, laughs or sings.

Symptoms

Although your body may harbor the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, your immune system usually can prevent you from becoming sick. For this reason, doctors make a distinction between:

Latent TB: In this condition, you have a TB infection, but the bacteria remain in your body in an inactive state and cause no symptoms. Latent TB, also called inactive TB or TB infection, isn't contagious. It can turn into active TB, so treatment is important for the person with latent TB and to help control the spread of TB. An estimated 2 billion people have latent TB.

Active TB: This condition makes you sick and can spread to others. It can occur in the first few weeks after infection with the TB bacteria, or it might occur years later.

Treatment

Medications are the cornerstone of tuberculosis treatment. But treating TB takes much longer than treating other types of bacterial infections.

With tuberculosis, you must take antibiotics for at least six to nine months. The exact drugs and length of treatment depend on your age, overall health, possible drug resistance, the form of TB (latent or active) and the infection's location in the body.

FAQs

Whats the difference between discitis and spinal tuberculosis?

Discitis is a low-grade infection that affects the disc space between two vertebrae, and spinal tuberculosis is an infection of the spine by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium. Yes, I'm sure an MRI will be able to differentiate between the two.