Surendar M. Tuli

June 2013, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 529 - 538 Review article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-012-2388-7

First Online: 17 July 2012


Spinal tuberculosis has existed in human beings since the ascent of man on earth. Historically, the management has progressed from regional orthodox therapies to the current, more effective, drugs.

Materials and methods

Historical perspectives regarding the management have been collated by going through the important publications during the past 6 decades. For convenience, the manuscript has been organized as “orthodox traditional” treatment, early “chemotherapy period”, “post chemotherapy treatment”, “middle-path” philosophy, and the current treatment with availability of modern imaging facilities.


Broad conclusions based upon the published data and personal observations (1959–2011) are summarized as follows: If diagnosis is made at predestructive stage and the patient is treated by standard drugs, the infection would heal in about 95 % patients without significant deformities and complications. Neural complications are still encountered in general hospital outpatients. Diagnosis and treatment at early stages would resolve the neurology without operation in about 40 % of cases. Nearly 60 % of patients would require to be operatively decompressed without jeopardizing mechanical stability. However, despite current treatment approximately 8 % of tuberculous paraplegics do not recover functionally. Immunocompromised state and multidrug resistance to standard drugs (8 to 10 %) are the current (and future) challenges to the doctors and the society.

Read Full Article