Non-tuberculous mycobacterial tenosynovitis: a review

Scand J Infect Dis. 1999;31(3):221-8. doi: 10.1080/00365549950163482.


The clinical characteristics, outcome and treatment of non-tuberculous mycobacterial tenosynovitis are reviewed. From lesions localized in the hand, 10 different species of non-tuberculous mycobacteria have been reported. The most common are Mycobacterium marinum and Mycobacterium kansasii. Other less frequent organisms are Mycobacterium avium complex, Mycobacterium szulgai, Mycobacterium terrae, Mycobacterium fortuitum, Mycobacterium chelonae, Mycobacterium abscessus, Mycobacterium malmoense and Mycobacterium xenopi. The infections appear to be the result of previous trauma, surgical procedure, corticosteroid injection or non-apparent inoculation (water contamination). Immunosuppression is sometimes associated with the infections and can be considered as a risk factor. Surgical debridement and appropriate mycobacterial cultures are critical to enable diagnosis and appropriate management. Specimens should be inoculated on a range of media and incubated at a range of temperatures in order to isolate mycobacteria with different growth characteristics (with prolonged incubation). The optimal treatment of these infections is discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous* / diagnosis
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous* / epidemiology
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous* / microbiology
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous* / therapy
  • Nontuberculous Mycobacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Tenosynovitis / diagnosis
  • Tenosynovitis / epidemiology
  • Tenosynovitis / microbiology*
  • Tenosynovitis / therapy
  • Wrist