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The spectrum of tuberculosis of the spine in pediatric age group: a review

Abstract

Introduction

Pediatric spinal tuberculosis is characterized by rapid bone destruction and carries the risk of rapid onset neurological deficits and severe deformity of the spine. Behavior of spinal deformity over time is affected by growth of spine. Owing to this dynamic behavior of pediatric spinal tuberculosis both in active phase and in healed phase, it presents with challenges which are quite different from adults with caries spine. A clinician must have high index of suspicion for accurate and early diagnosis of spinal tuberculosis in the pediatric population and should also have a thorough knowledge of differences in natural history between adult and pediatric spinal tuberculosis.

Discussion

This is based on the senior author’s experience of dealing with tuberculosis of the spine in children over the last two decades. Recent advances in field of rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis based on nuclear material-related diagnostic tests have further improved the management of tuberculosis. At the same time, the basic treatment principles remain the same. However, the threshold for surgical vs conservative treatment have subtle differences when compared to adult population. The importance of long-term follow-up after treatment must be appreciated.

Conclusion

Tuberculosis in the spine in children needs early attention. Prompting to diagnostic and medical therapy measures can avoid neurological sequellae and delayed deformity.

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Correspondence to Sandip Chatterjee.

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Chatterjee, S., Banta, A. The spectrum of tuberculosis of the spine in pediatric age group: a review. Childs Nerv Syst 34, 1937–1945 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00381-018-3891-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00381-018-3891-x

Keywords

  • Pediatric spinal tuberculosis
  • Caries spine
  • Skeletal system