Treatment of Tuberculosis of the Spine With Neurologic Complications

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Neurologic complications are the most dreaded complication of spinal tuberculosis. The patients who have paraplegia develop in the active stage of tuberculosis of the spine require active treatment for spinal tuberculosis and have a better prognosis than the patients who have paraplegia develop many years after the initial disease has healed. Neurologic dysfunctions in association with active tuberculosis of the spine can be prevented by early diagnosis and prompt treatment. Prompt treatment can reverse paralysis and minimize the potential disability resulting from Pott’s paraplegia. When needed, a combination of conservative therapy and surgical decompression yields successful results in most patients with tuberculosis of the spine who have neurologic complications. The vertebral body primarily is affected in tuberculosis; therefore, decompression has to be anterior. Laminectomy is advocated in patients with posterior complex disease and spinal tumor syndrome. Late onset paraplegia is best avoided by prevention of the development of severe kyphosis. Patients with tuberculosis of the spine who are likely to have severe kyphosis develop (< 60°) on completion of treatment should have surgery in the active stage of disease to improve kyphus.

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