Medically treated intraspinal "Brucella" granuloma

Surg Neurol. 1999 Dec;52(6):570-6. doi: 10.1016/s0090-3019(99)00110-x.


Background: Although there have been reports of Brucella granuloma or abscess in the literature, they were all localized extradurally except one, and most patients underwent surgery.

Case report: A 40-year-old female presented with urinary and fecal incontinence and a two-month history of progressive weakness of the right leg and numbness of the left leg. Four months previously, she had been diagnosed with systemic brucellosis with a period of radiculomeningoencephalitis; she was treated successfully with rifampicin, doxycycline, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMZ), and streptomycin, and was discharged symptom-free on rifampicin and doxycycline. Neurological examination revealed spastic paraparesis, globally hyperactive deep tendon reflexes (DTRs) and sensory level at T6. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spinal cord revealed a 10 x 30 mm intradural-intramedullary mass lesion at the T5 level with surrounding edema that enhanced with contrast. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was xanthochromic with lymphocytic pleocytosis and elevated levels of albumin, immunoglobulins, and antibody titers for Brucella. The medications were modified to rifampicin 1200 mg, doxycycline 400 mg, and TMP/SMZ 480/2400 mg daily, and methylprednisolone 100 mg in decremental doses (for 6 weeks). After 2 months, the patient was almost symptom-free and her medication doses were decreased. After 5 months, the mass lesion resolved almost completely. The treatment was discontinued after 2 years.

Conclusions: The case is presented because of its uniqueness. In cases of Brucella granuloma, the authors recommend a trial of medical treatment with adequate dosages for a reasonable length of time before considering surgical intervention.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brucellosis / diagnosis
  • Brucellosis / drug therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Doxycycline / administration & dosage
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Granuloma / diagnosis
  • Granuloma / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Methylprednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Rifampin / administration & dosage
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination / administration & dosage


  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination
  • Doxycycline
  • Rifampin
  • Methylprednisolone