TB or Tuberculosis is a critically infectious disease caused by Mycobacteria tuberculosis- a bacterium. The infectious diseases primarily affect the lungs but, it may also spread to other body parts turning to extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB). Bone and joint Tuberculosis is one form of EPTB in which the infection occurs in one or more bones. Around 20-30% of people affected with EPTB develop bone TB. This improved form of TB affects the bones especially different joints, long bones, and spine as well as the musculoskeletal system in some cases. But, the condition majorly affects the spine or spinal column. The condition is also known as skeletal TB and may start showing signs of subacutely or acutely.
Medical experts say that Bone TB is one of the vital reasons behind spine and bone deformities. The disease-causing bacterium grows over the cartilage and further extends to the underlying bone. Ignoring the condition for an extended period can lead to limb shortening in children and full body paralysis in grown up and also causes extensive damage to the bone marrow and are late signs of the condition.
The approach and duration of bone TB treatment are, prolonged in comparison to lung TB. There is a constant increase in the number of people affected by bone TB. It is pivotal to analyze the symptoms of the disease and diagnosis to detect the condition at the right time following which the doctor can prescribe the right treatment.
Bone TB is an improved condition when Tuberculosis spreads out of the lungs. Tuberculosis spreads through the air from one person to another, while, within a person, it transmits from the lymph nodes or lungs through blood to the spine, bones, and joints. The major reason behind developing bone TB is a rich supply of vascular in the central point of bones and vertebrae.
Bone TB is rare and also is difficult to diagnose. If left untreated, the condition leads to severe problems. Due to the growing epidemic of AIDS, the incidences of infectious disease have increased. The patients with a history of severe back pain are more suspicious to spinal infections. The conditions are worse if the thoracic vertebrae get, affected or a pattern of bone destruction with disc preservation, epidural tissue masses and paravertebral are, found.
It is not easy to recognize the symptoms of Bone TB unless the condition in advanced! In the early stages, the condition is painless, and the patient doesn’t exhibit any symptoms. Bone TB is diagnosable, and the signs and symptoms get, detected in a very advanced stage.
Mycobacteria remain dormant in the lungs and start transmitting to the bones without the knowledge of the patients.
- Fever, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, chills, and night sweats are the symptoms normally, experienced by patients with Bone TB.
- The symptoms like severe back pain, stiffness, abscesses, and swelling indicate that TB has contracted from the lungs.
- When the condition augments to an advanced stage, it starts showing the dangerous symptoms including paralysis, neurological complications, bone deformities and limb-shortening in children.
Bone TB leads to painful adverse effects on the body but the damages caused are reversible; if treated in an early stage with right prescribed medications. Spinal surgery like laminectomy may be necessary in some cases but medication is the initial method of defending bone TB, and the course of treatment may be from 6-18 months as prescribed by the doctor after diagnosing the severity of the condition.
Serology plays a limited role in diagnosing TB, but Radio-nuclide bone scans are helpful to detect the condition. Effective diagnosis gets, done with the aspiration of material or biopsy of the area; followed by microbiological investigation like AFB culture; AFB staining or nucleic acid amplification tests like gene probe or PCR. Anti-tuberculosis regimen medication includes isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide. Medications get often, used in addition to surgical intervention for effective treatment.