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Surg Neurol Int. 2011;2:162. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.89879. Epub 2011 Nov 14.

Mycobacterium bovis spondylodiscitis after intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guérin therapy.

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  • 1Division of Neurosurgery, Hôpital Notre-Dame du CHUM, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada.



Intravesical instillations of live-attenuated Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) are a well-known and effective method for prevention and treatment of bladder carcinoma and carcinoma in situ. Although considered a safe procedure with rare side effects, local and systemic complications may occur. While long bone ostemolyelitis has been well described, very few reports of BCG spondylodiscitis exist in the literature.


A 67-year-old man developed low back pain, anorexia, and weight loss 11 months after a 6-week course of intravesical BCG instillations for the treatment of bladder carcinoma in situ. Imaging studies revealed L1-L2 spondylodiscitis with epidural and bilateral psoas abscesses. Tissue cultures obtained by percutaneous computed tomography-guided aspiration were positive for Mycobacterium bovis. Despite triple antituberculous therapy (isoniazid, rifampin, and ethambutol), clinical and radiological progression occurred. Therefore, L1 and L2 corpectomies with extensive debridement were performed, followed by 360° anterior-posterior instrumented fusion. After 20 months of follow-up, the patient remains asymptomatic and recurrence-free.


Mycobacterium bovis spondylodiscitis is a rare complication of intravesical BCG therapy. Although medical therapy with antituberculous agents is the first-line treatment, surgical decompression, debridement, and stabilization may be necessary in refractory cases.


Bacillus Calmette-Guérin; osteomyelitis; spondylodiscitis; tuberculosis

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