Bone & joints


Tuberculous arthritis

Last author update: 1 March 2013
Last staff update: 6 February 2023

Copyright: 2002-2023,, Inc.

PubMed Search: tuberculosis arthritis [title]

Vijay Shankar, M.D.
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Cite this page: Shankar V. Tuberculous arthritis. website. Accessed November 28th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Insidious onset of chronic progressive arthritis, usually monoarticular in knee and hip; usually after osteomyelitis
  • More common in children
  • First, synovial membrane secretes excessive fluid; then proliferation, thickening, studding of its inner surface with tubercles; finally fibrosis of outer surface
  • Leads to fibrous ankylosis of joint with obliteration of joint space
  • Can detect from culture, examination of synovial fluid, PCR (apparent false positives in clinically negative patients may represent early disease, Arch Pathol Lab Med 2004;128:205)
Radiology description
  • Marginal erosion of hip and knee joints, with destruction of subchondral bone on both sides of joint and loss of joint space
Case reports
Clinical images

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Arthroscopic view of elbow joint

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Granulomas with caseous necrosis; AIDS patients often have histiocytes with numerous acid fast organisms but no granulomas
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Synovial tissue

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