Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 471, Issue 10, pp 3372–3380

Tuberculosis of the Pubic Symphysis: Four Unusual Cases and Literature Review

Case Reports

DOI: 10.1007/s11999-013-3037-0

Cite this article as:
Lal, H., Jain, V.K. & Kannan, S. Clin Orthop Relat Res (2013) 471: 3372. doi:10.1007/s11999-013-3037-0



The incidence of extrapulmonary tuberculosis (TB) has increased in the chemotherapeutic era owing to the increasing presence of immunodeficiency disorders. Pubic symphysis TB, although uncommon, is again important as these infections once were in the prechemotherapeutic era.

Case Description

We present the cases of four patients with pubic symphysis TB in which one patient had a horseshoe-shaped abscess in the pubic region and another had a double lesion of the pelvis leading to vertical shear-type pathologic displacement. Three patients were diagnosed by cytology and PCR. These patients were treated successfully with antituberculosis treatment with or without minimal surgical intervention despite their late presentation and advanced disease. The fourth patient remains under treatment and followup.

Literature Review

We identified 40 patients with TB of the pubic symphysis in the English language medical literature. Of these 40 patients, only five are from India despite TB being endemic in this country. Followup information is available for 32 of the 40 patients with followups ranging from 1 to 84 months (mean of approximataly 20 months).

Purposes and Clinical Relevance

We suspect TB of the pubic symphysis is increasing in frequency owing to drug resistance, use of biologics, immunomodulating drugs, and anticancer drugs. Therefore, it is important for clinicians to have a high index of suspicion in patients at risk. Initially patients may be asymptomatic or present with adductor region pain or spasm, sacroiliac strain, limp, or a hypogastric, inguinal, or thigh mass that mimics an inguinal hernia, genitourinary, abdominal, or thigh tumor.


It is important to diagnose and treat pubic TB early in the course of the disease before the destructive stage. After relevant investigations most patients can be treated with antitubercular drugs with or without a minor surgical procedure.

Supplementary material

11999_2013_3037_MOESM1_ESM.doc (178 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 178 kb)

Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsPGIMER, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia HospitalNew DelhiIndia