How long does spinal tuberculosis last

The adventure of diagnosis: when bacteria attack the spine

Status: 09/22/2020 8:15 p.m.
In the case of bone tuberculosis, the bacteria attack the musculoskeletal system.

Diagnosing bone tuberculosis is extremely difficult, so it often takes a long time for this rare disease. In tuberculosis, so-called tubercle bacteria get into the lungs through the air we breathe. There they are eaten by immune cells. However, the pathogens do not die, but encapsulate themselves like in a Trojan horse, often slumbering for years before the disease breaks out.

In rare cases, bone tuberculosis can occur. The pathogens do not settle in the lungs at all, but rather migrate to the spine. As soon as the immune system is weakened, the disease can break out.

VIDEO: When bacteria attack the bones (15 min)

Bacteria attack the intervertebral discs and vertebrae

The tubercle bacteria first attack the intervertebral discs and then eat away at the vertebral bodies. The infection spreads slowly over the muscles and leads to huge pus foci in the stomach and back. The symptoms are varied:

  • Pain and swelling in the joints - especially in the thoracic and lumbar areas
  • Abscesses
  • Nerve failures and symptoms of paralysis
  • Formation of a rounded back

Antibiotics fights pathogens causing bone tuberculosis

Diagnosing the disease is difficult because of the variety of symptoms. An MRI provides information about the condition of the spine and can confirm an initial suspicion. The dangerous pathogens can be detected via a puncture in the pus of an abscess.

As a rule, tuberculosis is easily treatable. Sufferers have to take various antibiotics over a longer period of time. This combination therapy kills the pathogens.

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Experts on the subject

Dr. Stephan Haverkamp, ​​specialist in surgery
MVZ Surgery Kiel
Schönberger Strasse 11, 24148 Kiel-Wellingdorf

Prof. Dr. Christof Hopf, specialist in orthopedics and trauma surgery, pediatric orthopedics, rheumatology
Specialist department for spinal surgery, pediatric, rheumatic and oncological orthopedics
Lubinus Clinicum
Steenbeker Weg 25, 24106 Kiel

Prof. Dr. med. Dr. H. c. Christoph Lange, Medical Director
Clinical Tuberculosis Center (CLinTB) des
German Center for Infection Research (DZIF)
Borstel Research Center
Parkallee 35, 23845 Borstel

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Visit | 09/22/2020 | 8:15 pm