Spinal tuberculosis, also known as Pott’s disease or tuberculous spondylitis, is a rare infectious disease that leads to the collapse of the vertebrae, causing a deformity or kyphosis (hunchback). Named after Dr. Percivall Pott, who first detailed the condition in the 1700s, Pott’s disease or bone tuberculosis forms in the vertebra and slowly spreads into adjacent areas.
According to our orthopedic spine surgeon in Fort Lauderdale, tuberculosis commonly starts with infectious bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Mtb) that affect the lungs. If not treated, it can easily spread to the spine and cause spinal arthritis. When the infection progresses to two contiguous joints, the spinal disc receives less nutrients and begins to deteriorate.
Once the disc collapses, the vertebrae narrows and also collapses, leading to damage in the spinal cord. If no treatment is administered, this condition can lead to nerve damage, paralysis, and back deformities. One to two percent of patients who contract pulmonary (lung) tuberculosis develop Pott’s disease.
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