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J Spinal Disord. 1997 Oct;10(5):417-9.

Conservative treatment of tuberculous spondylitis: a long-term follow-up study.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Innsbruck, Austria.


A retrospective follow-up study was performed on 40 patients, in which tuberculous spondylitis was treated conservatively between 1969 and 1985 with orthotic supports for an average of 16 months (range, 10-30 months) and with anti-tuberculous agents. All had persistent back pain, but none had neurological deficits. The mean follow-up period was 17 years (range, 10-26 years). Diagnosis was confirmed histopathologically. The spinal segments involved ranged from T5 to L5. The kyphotic angle was calculated according to Cobb. At final follow-up, 22 patients were pain free, 11 had occasional pain, 6 complained of pain in the morning, and 1 had chronic pain and needed frequent analgesics. Solid bony union was found in 75% of patients. The kyphotic deformity occurred in the thoracic spine with a mean angle of 20 degrees (range, 13-28 degrees) and in the lumbar spine with a mean angle 12 degrees (range, 5-26 degrees). The long-term follow-up of conservative treatment showed only slightly increased kyphosis. Conservative treatment is an alternative to surgical intervention in cases with kyphosis < 35 degrees.

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