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Spinal tuberculosis (spinal TB) occurs in about 1% to 2% of people with TB (the most common infectious disease in the world). The disease can have a major impact on people's lives. Nerves can be squeezed causing pain, loss of feeling, and breathing problems. It can cause bone loss and curvature of the spine, which can lead to loss of nerve function and paralysis after some years, even if the TB has been cured. Correcting with surgery at this point can be difficult because of the complexity of the surgery required. It has been suggested that surgery might be undertaken at the time the TB of the spine is diagnosed and drug treatment (chemotherapy) is being used. However, all surgery has potential adverse effects. This review of trials found there were insufficient numbers of participants in the two trials located (331 participants) to be able to say if routine surgery early on was of overall benefit. Further trials are needed and such trials should assess the pain that people suffer and their views of the disease and treatment.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Thoracic and lumbar spine fractures are the most common injuries of the spine. An exaggerated curvature (kyphosis) at the end of treatment may predispose to later back pain and a poor functional outcome. If the nerve root or spinal cord is damaged, partial or complete loss of sensory and motor function in the legs, and urinary and faecal incontinence may result. Treatment depends on the individual characteristics of the fracture, with options including bed rest alone, closed reduction of the fracture and functional bracing, and surgery involving open reduction and internal fixation of the fracture. Surgery frequently involves posterior pedicle screw fixation, where typically screws are placed in the 'pedicle' parts of the vertebrae (bones of the spine) adjacent to the damaged vertebrae and connected by rods to hold the bones in place and stabilise the fracture while it heals. This review examined the evidence for the different types of pedicle screw fixation and for additional support such as fusion, where bone graft (usually taken from bone near the hip region of the patient) or substitute is added to the spine. The latter aims to reduce movement of the injured segment and any associated pain.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Expert-reviewed information summary about the health problems that continue or appear after cancer treatment has ended.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: April 25, 2017

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