Tuberculous osteomyelitis

Author: Dariusz Borys, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 28 September 2016, last major update August 2013

Copyright: (c) 2003-2016,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Tuberculous osteomyelitis[title]
Cite this page: Tuberculous osteomyelitis. website. Accessed December 12th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Usually young adults or children

Pott's disease:
  • Involvement of spine (thoracic / lumbar)
  • Extensive necrosis of intervertebral discs with extension into soft tissue
  • May produce significant deformities or neurologic deficits
  • Difficult to treat
Clinical features
  • In US, due to immigrants and immunosuppression
  • 1 - 3% with tuberculosis have bone infection, usually from focus of acute visceral disease, direct extension or lymphatics
  • Rarely causes inguinal mass with fluctuant psoas abscess
  • In AIDS patients, bone infection usually multifocal
  • Advanced cases are associated with cutaneous sinuses, which cause secondary bacterial infections
  • Associated with fusion of joint, denudation of cartilage, sequestra of medullary cavity
  • Can detect in synovial fluid by culture and examination
  • Vertebrae, hip, knee, ankle, elbow, wrist
  • Usually involves synovium, epiphysis or metaphysis
Radiology images

Images hosted on Pathout server:
Missing Image

Cervical vertebrae paraspinal tuberculous abscess MRI - contributed by Dr. Mark R. Wick

Gross images
Images hosted on Pathout server:
Missing Image

Tubeculous vertebral osteomyelitis (Pott disease) - contributed by Dr. Mark R. Wick

Microscopic (histologic) images
Images hosted on Pathout server:
Missing Image

Contributed by Dr. Mark R. Wick

Differential diagnosis