Bone Tuberculosis: Causes, Types, and Diagnosis
TB is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis and is a highly contagious disease with a high fatality rate globally. Tuberculosis is a disease that may be avoided, and if you detect it in the early phases, it can be cured.
Although the lungs are the most common site of TB infection, this is a disease that can easily creep into other parts of your body.
Regarding TB in the musculoskeletal system, a significantly lower number of individuals are affected globally. The spine is the typical target in such circumstances. Keeping this in mind, if TB has crept into your bones, you probably also have it in or on your spine. The only catch is that every bone in your body is fair game for tuberculosis.
What is The Primary Cause of Bone TB?
The condition called bone TB is when tuberculosis (TB) spreads beyond your lungs and creeps into your bones. Airborne droplets often transmit it. Once contracted, the TB infection can spread from your lungs to the bones or joints via the blood. The dense blood supply in the center of long bones is a common site for the onset of tuberculosis of the bone.
Although bone tuberculosis is not so common, in recent years, there has been a spike in developing countries, mainly because of the rise of AIDS in such regions. Bone TB can cause serious complications if you leave it untreated for a long time and don't begin taking your medications early.
Research suggests that bone TB does not get transmitted by droplets or air like pulmonary tuberculosis. Still, constant contact with pus can cause the infection to travel into your bloodstream and transmit the disease.
What are The Different Types of TB?
There are two main types of TB:
- Pulmonary Tuberculosis is TB which mostly affects the lungs. Some bone TB symptoms you may experience are difficulty breathing, chest pain, and other lung-related issues.
- Extra Pulmonary Tuberculosis is TB that spreads to other body parts other than the lungs. This is more common in individuals with a poor immune system, primarily caused by HIV/AIDS. Extrapulmonary tuberculosis also creeps into the bones, causing rare and fatal bone TB.
Which Bone TB Tests Should You Consider?
When in doubt, these are some of the bone TB tests you should get:
An MRI, X-ray, or CT scan may be recommended if you experience any bone TB symptoms.
A sample of the contaminated tissue is removed and analysed in a process called a biopsy, which your doctor may recommend.
PCR can also be used to analyse the samples your doctor obtains from you. The mycobacterium's genetic material is amplified in this test, making the detection of infection from very low fluid volumes possible.
There is a high chance your lungs are infected if you have TB of the bones. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may take a blood or sputum sample to check for Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Your doctor can use a blood sample or other bodily fluid to test for TB and, in some situations, AIDS antibodies.
Test of Body Fluids
There is a chance that if you're infected, your doctor may take a sample of excess fluid present in areas around your lungs. It's also possible that if there is a suspicion of bone TB, your doctor may drain some of the fluid that surrounds your joints for further analysis.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Serious is Bone TB?
It is rare; however, in the last several decades, the frequency of this illness has grown in developing nations, mainly due to the spread of AIDS. This is despite the fact that bone tuberculosis is a very uncommon condition. Bone tuberculosis is notoriously challenging to detect and, if left untreated, can result in a wide range of serious complications.
2. How Long Should You Expect to be Cured of Your Bone TB?
Sticking to the medication prescribed by your doctor is the first line of treatment for bone TB, and the length of treatment can range anywhere from six months to eighteen months. Pyrazinamide, Ethambutol, Rifampicin, or Isoniazid are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs for patients showing any symptoms of bone TB.
3. How Much Does a Bone TB Test Cost?
There is a wide range of possible prices for the TB blood test, from 1600 to 2000 rupees. You can expect the results in 48 hours.
4. Is Bone TB Completely Curable?
It is a very significant disorder since it causes the thorax to get deformed and it also kills the bone. It is of the utmost importance to identify the signs of bone TB as soon as possible. If caught in its early stages, bone tuberculosis can be treated successfully. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to have an accurate understanding of the ailment and its associated symptoms.
5. Can Bone TB Return After Treatment?
Even if you have beaten TB in the past, it is still possible to become infected with the disease again. Keep in mind that re-infection with tuberculosis is becoming increasingly prevalent in present times.
6. Is Bone TB Contagious?
Unlike pulmonary tuberculosis, which may be transmitted through the air, bone tuberculosis is not contagious unless you come in contact with a patient's pus. Since tuberculosis of the bone may not display traditional signs such as high fever or unusual weight loss, its diagnosis is very challenging.