Spinal tuberculosis: the association between pedicle involvement and anterior column damage and kyphotic deformity

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2009 Apr 1;34(7):713-7. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31819b2159.


Study design: Pedicle involvement in spinal tuberculosis (TB), the prevertebral abscess formation, severity of vertebral body, and disc collapse were evaluated from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the patients.

Objective: To study the pedicle involvement in spine TB in relation to the degree of vertebral body and disc collapse, prevertebral abscess collection, and degree of kyphosis; and to correlate the occurrence of pedicle involvement and the degree of spinal deformity.

Summary of background data: There are a few reports describing the posterior element involvement in spinal TB. Typically, the infection resides in the anterior part of the vertebral body endplates and rarely involved the pedicles.

Methods: There were 31 patients, who had been diagnosed and treated for spinal TB from 2003 to 2007 at our center. Critical evaluation of each patient's MRI was carried out for the pedicle involvement, prevertebral abscess formation, severity of vertebral body, and disc collapse.

Results: Spinal TB mostly involved the thoracic level (48.4%). Pedicle involvement was noted in 64.5% of patients, and the highest involvement was at thoracic level. The mean vertebral body, disc collapse, prevertebral abscess, and kyphosis were more severe in pedicle involved group.

Conclusion: The posterior spinal element, specifically the pedicle is not uncommonly involved in spinal TB. Pedicle involvement is part of the disease process and usually associated with relatively severe vertebral body and disc destruction, wide prevertebral abscess, and severe kyphosis. Pedicle involvement can be detected early from MRI and need to be documented as it may influence the treatment strategy.

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / pathology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / etiology
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / pathology
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / physiopathology
  • Kyphosis / etiology
  • Kyphosis / pathology*
  • Kyphosis / physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spine / anatomy & histology
  • Spine / pathology*
  • Spine / physiopathology
  • Tuberculosis, Spinal / complications
  • Tuberculosis, Spinal / pathology*
  • Tuberculosis, Spinal / physiopathology
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology
  • Young Adult
  • Zygapophyseal Joint / pathology
  • Zygapophyseal Joint / physiopathology