Retrospective case series analysing the clinical data and treatment options of patients with a tubercular abscess of the chest wall

Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2012 Mar;14(3):249-52. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivr113. Epub 2011 Dec 18.


The tubercular abscess of the chest wall remains one of the differential diagnoses of a chest wall tumour, and the management strategy is controversial. We reviewed the medical records of 22 patients treated at our institution. Two patients were managed by antitubercular medications alone; eight patients were managed by medication and open drainage. Five patients underwent open drainage with subsequent radical surgery at a constant interval of time, and the mean duration between open drainage and radical surgery was 9.8 weeks (range, 3-12). Seven patients underwent radical surgery without prior open drainage. Five patients required rib resections, and curettage of infected pleural peel was necessary in 5 patients. Antitubercular drugs were administered basically for more than 6 months regardless of surgical management, including for more than 1 month prior to radical surgery. Postoperative empyema was seen in 1 patient after radical surgery. The mean follow-up duration was 32.8 months (range, 3-100), and there was no recurrence. Complete resection of the tubercular abscess with sufficient antitubercular therapy resulted in a satisfactory outcome. Antitubercular therapy with or without open drainage can be a viable choice.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / diagnosis
  • Abscess / microbiology
  • Abscess / therapy*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biopsy
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Drainage / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thoracic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Thoracic Diseases / microbiology
  • Thoracic Diseases / therapy*
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Thoracic Wall*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis / therapy*
  • Young Adult


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • DNA, Bacterial