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Indian J Pediatr. 2000 Feb;67(2 Suppl):S53-7.

Surgery in tuberculosis.

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Department of Paediatric Surgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.


Tuberculosis in children involves many organs and systems including lymphatics, lungs, CNS, GIT and genitourinary. Although the mainstay of treatment is medical, surgery has a definite role under specific circumstances. It is important to differentiate atypical mycobacterial infection wherein surgery is the primary modality of treatment. The lung is most commonly involved in tuberculosis and besides bronchoscopy, thoracic procedures range from tube thoracostomy to decortication and lung resection. Neurotuberculosis constitutes almost half the cases of extrapulmonary tuberculosis and tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the commonest type of CNS involvement. Hydrocephalus is a late complication of TBM and shunt surgery is indicated when signs and symptoms of raised intracranial pressure persist despite adequate medical therapy. Abdominal tuberculosis could be peritoneal or gastrointestinal. Either form can complicate the other and each can present in acute, subacute or chronic form. Surgical therapy is reserved for complications like strictures, fistulae and GI bleed. Genitourinary tuberculosis constitutes 15-20% of all extrapulmonary disease and epididymitis is the most common manifestation in the males. Surgery is generally reserved for management of complications such as ureteral strictures, perinephric abscesses and nonfunctioning kidneys.

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