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J Med Case Rep. 2007 Nov 26;1:152.

Anterior chest wall tuberculous abscess: a case report.

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1st Propedeutic Surgical Clinic, Aristotle's University of Thessaloniki, A,H,E,P,A, University Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece.


The granulomatous inflammation of tuberculosis usually involves the lungs and the hilar lymph nodes. Musculoskeletal tuberculosis (TB) occurs in 1-3% of patients with TB, while TB of the chest wall constitutes 1% to 5% of all cases of musculoskeletal TB. Furthermore, nowadays it is rarer to find extrapulmonary TB in immunocompetent rather that non-immunocompetent patients. The present case reports a fifty-six-year-old immunocompetent man with an anterior chest wall tuberculous abscess. The rarity of the present case relates both to the localization of the tuberculous abscess, and to the fact that the patient was immunocompetent. The diagnosis of musculoskeletal tuberculous infection remains a challenge for clinicians and requires a high index of suspicion. The combination of indolent onset of symptoms, positive tuberculin skin test, and compatible radiographic findings, strongly suggests the diagnosis. TB, however, must be confirmed by positive culture or histologic proof. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent serious bone and joint destruction.

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