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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 127-131

Atlantoaxial tuberculosis: Outcome analysis

Department of Neurosurgery, Institute of Neurosurgery, Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Srihari Sridharan
Institute of Neurosurgery, Madras Medical College, Park Town, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmy.ijmy_55_17

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Background: Tuberculous (TB) spondylitis occurs in <1% of patients with TB. Atlantoaxial involvement is extremely rare amounting to 0.3%–1% cases of TB spondylitis. The management of this entity has been fluctuating with time. Various classifications and management protocols have also evolved. We present our experience in managing this entity in 8 patients. Materials and Methods: Retrospective follow-up study of eight patients with atlantoaxial TB over 2 years. They ranged in age from 14 to 33 years with male preponderance. Four required surgical intervention on initial presentation, 2 were successfully treated conservatively, and 2 had to undergo surgery after a trial of conservative management. All of them were started on antituberculous therapy (ATT) for 18 months. Patients were followed up for 8–29 months. Results: Neck pain and restriction of neck movements were standard presenting features. All patients had pulmonary TB confirmed by sputum examination. Radiological investigations formed an integral part of the evaluation of disease, treatment plan, and prognosis. Improvement in symptoms has been documented in all eight. Conclusion: The involvement of the most mobile spinal segment and the potential cervicomedullary compression makes it a disease of utmost importance. Although ATT remains the mainstay of treatment, surgical intervention is needed for stabilizing the joint and decompressing the cervicomedullary junction. Strict adherence to medical advice and optimum surgical intervention tailored for each patient results in the successful management of the disease.

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