Pott's disease or Pott disease is a presentation of extrapulmonary tuberculosis whereby disease is seen in the spinal vertebrae.1 Extrapulmonary tuberculosis can affect the spine, a kind of tuberculous arthritis of the intervertebral joints. It is named after Percivall Pott (1714–1788), a British surgeon. The lower thoracic and upper lumbar vertebrae are the areas of the spine most often affected. Scientifically, it is called tuberculous spondylitis and it is most commonly localized in the thoracic portion of the spine. Pott’s disease results from haematogenous spread of tuberculosis from other sites, often pulmonary. The infection then spreads from two adjacent vertebrae into the adjoining intervertebral disc space. If only one vertebra is affected, the disc is normal, but if two are involved, the disc, which is avascular, cannot receive nutrients and collapses. The disc tissue dies and is broken down by caseation, leading to vertebral narrowing and eventually to vertebral collapse and spinal damage. A dry soft tissue mass often forms and superinfection is rare.
Controlling the spread of tuberculosis infection can prevent tuberculous spondylitis and arthritis. Patients who have a positive PPD test (but not active tuberculosis) may decrease their risk by properly taking medicines to prevent tuberculosis. To effectively treat tuberculosis, it is crucial that patients take their medications exactly as prescribed.
Immobilization of the spine region different types of braces and collars
Surgery may be necessary, especially to drain spinal abscesses or debride bony lesions fully or to stabilize the spine. A 2007 review found only just two randomized clinical trial with at least one year-follow up found which compared chemotherapy plus surgery with chemotherapy alone for treating people diagnosed with active tuberculosis of the spine. As such there is no high grade evidence but the results of this study indicates that surgery should not be recommended routinely and clinicians have to selectively judge and decide on which patients to operate. 2
Thoracic spinal fusion with or without instrumentation as a last resort
Physical therapy for pain-relieving modalties, postural education and teaching a home exercise program for strength and flexibility
The Passionist saint, Gemma Galgani suffered from tuberculosis of the spine.
The fictional Hunchback of Notre Dame had a gibbous deformity (humpback) similar to the type caused by tuberculosis.
In Henrik Ibsen's play "A Doll's House," Dr. Rank suffers from "consumption of the spine."
Jocelin, the Dean who wanted a spire on his cathedral in William Golding's "The Spire" probably suffered and died as a result of this disease.