Laboratory diagnosis of spinal tuberculosis: past and present
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- Patwardhan, S.A. & Joshi, S. ArgoSpine News J (2011) 23: 120. doi:10.1007/s12240-011-0023-9
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Spinal tuberculosis often has an indolent course and can be a diagnostic challenge. Timely laboratory diagnosis helps to start early treatment and prevents occurrence of serious complications. Techniques such as Ziehl-Neelsen staining, histopathology and culture on solid media have been conventionally used for laboratory diagnosis of tuberculosis. Availability of liquid TB culture and molecular diagnostic tests has helped to increase the sensitivity of diagnosis and give rapid results. However, these diagnostic aids demand technical expertise and stringent quality control. High cost also limits the use of these newer techniques in poor countries which respresent the greatest reservoir of tuberculosis.