Pott disease and tuberculosis have been with humans for countless millennia. Before the mid-twentieth century, the treatment of tuberculous spondylitis was primarily supportive and typically resulted in dismal neurological, functional and cosmetic outcomes. The contemporary development of effective antituberculous medications, imaging modalities, anesthesia, operative techniques and spinal instrumentation resulted in quantum improvements in the diagnosis, management and outcome of spinal tuberculosis. With the successful treatment of tuberculosis worldwide, interest in Pott disease has faded from the surgical forefront over the last 20 years. With the recent unchecked global pandemic of human immunodeficiency virus, the number of tuberculosis and secondary spondylitis cases is again increasing at an alarming rate. A surgical revisitation of Pott disease is thus essential to prepare spinal surgeons for this impending resurgence of tuberculosis.

To revisit the numerous treatment modalities for Pott disease and their outcomes. From this information, a critical reappraisal of surgical nuances with regard to decision making, timing, operative approach, graft types and the use of instrumentation were conducted.

A concise review of the diagnosis, management and surgical treatment of Pott disease.

A broad review of the literature was conducted with a particular focus on the different surgical treatment modalities for Pott disease and their outcomes regarding neurological deficit, kyphosis and spinal stability.

Whereas a variety of management schemes have been used for the debridement and reconstruction of tuberculous spondylitis, there has also been a spectrum of outcomes regarding neurological function and deformity. Medical treatment alone remains the cornerstone of therapy for the majority of Pott disease cases. Surgical intervention should be limited primarily to cases of severe or progressive deformity and/or neurological deficit. Based on the available evidence, radical ventral debridement and grafting appears to provide reproducibly good long-term neurological outcomes. Furthermore, recurrence of infection is lowest with such techniques. Posterior operative techniques are most effective in the reduction and prevention of spinal deformity.

Unlike historical times, effective medical and surgical management of tuberculous spondyitis is now possible. Proper selection of drug therapy and operative modalities, however, is needed to optimize functional outcomes for each individual case of Pott disease.

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