Bone & joints


Tuberculous osteomyelitis

Topic Completed: 1 August 2013

Minor changes: 19 March 2021

Copyright: 2003-2022,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Tuberculous osteomyelitis[title]

Dariusz Borys, M.D.
Page views in 2021: 3,992
Page views in 2022 to date: 163
Cite this page: Borys D. Tuberculous osteomyelitis. website. Accessed January 19th, 2022.
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

Contributed by Mark R. Wick, M.D.
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Cervical vertebrae
paraspinal tuberculous
abscess MRI

Gross images

Contributed by Mark R. Wick, M.D.
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(Pott disease)

Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Mark R. Wick, M.D.
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Differential diagnosis
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