European Spine Journal

, Volume 22, Supplement 4, pp 556–566 | Cite as

Bone and joint tuberculosis

  • Carlos Pigrau-Serrallach
  • Dolores Rodríguez-Pardo
Ideas and Technical Innovations



Bone and joint tuberculosis has increased in the past two decades in relation with AIDS epidemics.

Material and methods

A literature review of bone and joint tuberculosis, focusing on Pott’s disease.


Bone and joint TB comprises a group of serious infectious diseases whose incidence has increased in the past two decades, especially in underdeveloped countries, in part due to the AIDS epidemic. Tuberculous spinal infections should be suspected in patients with an insidious, progressive history of back pain and in individuals from an endemic area, especially when the thoracic vertebrae are affected and a pattern of bone destruction with relative disc preservation and paravertebral and epidural soft tissue masses are observed. Atypical tuberculous osteoarticular manifestations involving the extraspinal skeleton, a prosthetic joint, or the trochanteric area, and nontuberculous mycobacterial infections should be considered in favorable epidemiological contexts. Surgery combined with prolonged specific antituberculous chemotherapy is mainly indicated in patients with neurological manifestations or deformities, and provides satisfactory results in most cases.


Spinal tuberculosis is still a relative common extra spinal manifestation of spinal tuberculosis that requires a high degree of suspicion in order to avoid neurological complications and need of surgery.


Bone and joint tuberculosis Spinal tuberculosis Pott’s disease Tuberculous vertebral osteomyelitis Mycobacterial bone infections 



English language editing was done by Celine Cavallo.

Conflict of interest

Both the authors have no potential conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Pigrau-Serrallach
    • 1
  • Dolores Rodríguez-Pardo
    • 2
  1. 1.Infectious Diseases Division, Hospital Universitari Vall d’HebronUniversidad Autónoma, Barcelona REIPI (Spanish Network for Research in Infectious Disease)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Adjunto de Enfermedades InfecciosasHospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona REIPI (Spanish Network for Research in Infectious Disease)BarcelonaSpain

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