Destructive bone disease in early syphilis

JAMA. 1976 Dec 6;236(23):2646-8.


Although destructive bone disease is a well-known complication of tertiary syphilis, osteitis or osteomyelitis are not commonly recognized as complications of early (primary or secondary) syphillis. A patient with secondary syphilis characterized by generalized lymphadenopathy, perianal condyloma lata, and positive rapid plasma reagin (RPR) and fluorescent treponemal antibody-absorption (FTA-ABS) tests also complained of headache, right should pain, and right anterior chest pain and swelling. Roentgenograms showed mottled osteolytic lesions consistent with previously described luetic bone disease. Biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of syphilitic osteomyelitis, and treatment with penicillin resulted in prompt resolution of symptoms.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Resorption / pathology*
  • Clavicle / pathology
  • Frontal Bone / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Diseases / complications
  • Male
  • Osteitis / pathology
  • Osteolysis / pathology*
  • Osteomyelitis / pathology*
  • Parietal Bone / pathology
  • Syphilis / complications
  • Syphilis / pathology*
  • Time Factors