Spinal tuberculosis: diagnosis and management
Spinal deformity and paraplegia/quadriplegia are the most common complications of tuberculosis (TB) of spine. TB of dorsal spine almost always produces kyphosis while cervical and lumbar spine shows reversal of lordosis to begin with followed by kyphosis. kyphosis continues to increase in adults when patients are treated nonoperatively or by surgical decompression. In children, kyphosis continues to increase even after healing of the tubercular disease. The residual, healed kyphosis on a long follow-up produces painful costopelvic impingement, reduced vital capacity and eventually respiratory complications; spinal canal stenosis proximal to the kyphosis and paraplegia with healed disease, thus affecting the quality and span of life. These complications can be avoided by early diagnosis of tubercular spine lesion to heal with minimal or no kyphosis. When tubercular lesion reports with kyphosis of more than 50 degrees or is likely to progress further, they should be undertaken for kyphus correction. The sequential steps of kyphosis correction include anterior decompression and corpectomy, posterior column shortening, posterior instrumentation, anterior bone grafting and posterior fusion. During the procedure, the spinal cord should be kept under vision so that it should not elongate. Internal kyphectomy (gibbectomy) is a preferred treatment for late onset paraplegia with severe healed kyphosis.