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Atypical clinical and radiological presentations of lumbar spinal tuberculosis mimicking a spinal tumor: A case report Research Article

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Published article

CONCLUSION: Atypical clinical and radiological presentations of spinal TB present a challenge for appropriate diagnosis and early treatment. Even in developed countries where there are very few spinal TB patients, clinicians should be aware that spinal TB is an important differential diagnosis, especially in elderly patients or patients coming from countries with a middle-high prevalence of TB.
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Medicine (Baltimore). 2023 Jan 20;102(3):e32730. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000032730.

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Tuberculosis (TB) is an important infectious disease worldwide. Classical spinal TB has specific radiological findings involving adjacent vertebral bodies with destruction of the intervertebral disc and involvement of paravertebral soft tissues with cold abscess formation. However, a few cases not exhibiting the radiological characteristics of TB spondylitis have been reported. We report a rare case of lumbar spinal TB with atypical clinical and radiological presentations that was difficult to differentiate from a malignant spinal tumor.

PATIENT CONCERNS: A 21-year-old man, who had immigrated to Japan from the Philippines 5 years ago, without a significant medical history, presented with back pain lasting 1 month and progression of gait disturbance 2 weeks prior to presentation.

DIAGNOSIS: Laboratory tests showed normal blood cell counts and normal value of C-reactive protein levels. Preoperative imaging studies indicated a possible spinal tumor. However, histopathologic findings of the epidural soft tissues at the first surgery led to the diagnosis of spinal mycobacterial infection. The diagnosis of spinal TB was confirmed by a positive culture of Mycobacterium tuberculosis obtained at the second surgery.

INTERVENTIONS: Given the progressive nature of neurologic deterioration, instead of needle biopsy, we proceeded with surgical intervention 8 days after admission; simultaneous neural decompression and open biopsy. Histological findings of the excised epidural soft tissues led to the diagnosis of spinal mycobacterial infection. We performed the second surgery involving additional resection of epidural soft tissues for further dural decompression and to obtain specimens for mycobacterial culture. Immediately after the second surgery, the patient commenced combination therapy with anti-tuberculous drugs.

OUTCOMES: The patient demonstrated significant recovery of motor function in the lower extremities, and was able to run at 2 months after the second surgery. The epidural granulomas completely disappeared on magnetic resonance imaging 3 months postoperatively.

CONCLUSION: Atypical clinical and radiological presentations of spinal TB present a challenge for appropriate diagnosis and early treatment. Even in developed countries where there are very few spinal TB patients, clinicians should be aware that spinal TB is an important differential diagnosis, especially in elderly patients or patients coming from countries with a middle-high prevalence of TB.

PMID:36701731 | DOI:10.1097/MD.0000000000032730

The London Spine Unit : top spine centre in UK

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Atypical clinical and radiological presentations of lumbar spinal tuberculosis mimicking a spinal tumor: A case report

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Medicine (Baltimore). 2023 Jan 20;102(3):e32730. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000032730.ABSTRACTINTRODUCTION: Tuberculosis (TB) is an important infectious disease worldwide. Classical spinal TB has specific radiological findings involving adjacent vertebral bodies with destruction of the intervertebral disc and involvement of paravertebral soft tissues with cold abscess formation. However, a few cases not exhibiting the radiological characteristics of TB spondylitis have…

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