Clinical Characteristics of Spine TB

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Clinical Characteristics of Spine TB
The Spine (Image by, courtesy of Mike Rolph)

TB (tuberculosis) is an infectious,airborne disease. While it normally affects the lungs, TB can also affect the spine. Spinal TB (or Pott's Disease) accounts for up to 2% of all TB cases (Pott's Disease -Tuberculosis Spondylitis Research Paper - Jose A Hidalgo, MD, EMedicine 19 August 2008).

How does Spinal TB occur?

Spinal TB occurs when the TB bacteria spread from the lungs to the spine. The infection then moves from the vertebrae of the spine into the discs between the vertebrae. The discs collapse and, ultimately, cause the vertebrae to collapse.

What area of the spine is affected?

According to Spine Journal (Volume 34, Issue 7, 1 April 2009) the most affected area of the spine is the mid-chest (thoracic) area.

Symptoms of Spinal TB

Symptoms of Spinal TB include back pain, disc swelling, nerve damage (including paralysis) of the lower limbs, fever, night sweats and weight loss.

Identifying Spinal TB

Spinal TB can be identified by a combination of CT and MRI scans, biopsies, and blood and skin tests.


The above information is not meant to be a substitute for proper medical assessment and professional advice should always be sought.

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