Spinal tuberculosis (Pott's disease): its clinical presentation, surgical management, and outcome. A survey study on 694 patients

Neurosurg Rev. 2001 Mar;24(1):8-13. doi: 10.1007/pl00011973.


Tuberculosis (TB) of the spine (Pott's disease) is both the most common and most dangerous form of TB infection. Delay in establishing diagnosis and management cause spinal cord compression and spinal deformity. This study investigated the data on all cases of Pott's disease reported in Turkey from 1985 to 1996. A total of 694 cases were included. Out of the patients evaluated, 19% were reported in the first half of the period (1985-1990) and 81% in the second half (1991-1996). Tuberculosis affecting the spine was commonly localized in the thoracic region and involved the vertebral body. The presenting symptoms were leg weakness (69%), gibbus (46%), pain (21%), and palpable mass (10%). Decompressive surgery plus anti-TB chemotherapy remains the best mode of therapy for Pott's disease. Follow-up information was available in 414 of the 694 patients and there were ten deaths (2%), one occurring intraoperatively and the other nine postoperatively. This meta-analysis demonstrates that in Turkey Pott's disease remains a serious problem, causing paraplegia. It should be considered when patients present with neurological findings suggesting spinal cord compression and spinal deformity. In the present study, it was concluded that the neurological involvement due to Pott's disease is relatively benign if urgent decompression is performed at the onset of the disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Compression / surgery
  • Tuberculosis, Spinal / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Spinal / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis, Spinal / surgery*
  • Turkey / epidemiology


  • Antitubercular Agents