Journal List > J Korean Soc Spine Surg > v.22(2) > 1076077

J Korean Soc Spine Surg. 2015 Jun;22(2):55-59. Korean.
Published online June 30, 2015.
© Copyright 2015 Korean Society of Spine Surgery
Thoracic Vertebral Fracture due to Spinal Tuberculosis which was Misdiagnosed as Matastatic Cancer: A Case Report
Dae Geun Kim, M.D., Jae Hwan Cho, M.D., Jae Hyoun Kim, M.D., Jung-Ki Ha, M.D., Dong-Ho Lee, M.D. and Choon Sung Lee, M.D.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Corresponding author: Jae Hwan Cho, M.D. Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan 88, Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138-736, Korea. TEL: +82-2-3010-3530, FAX: +82-2-488-7877, Email:
Received September 25, 2014; Revised November 13, 2014; Accepted May 19, 2015.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Study Design

A case report.


To report the case of a patient whose preoperative imaging results seemed to show metastatic spine tumor but who actually had a vertebral pathologic fracture caused by spine tuberculosis.

Summary of Literature Review

Tuberculosis spondylitis is classified into peridiscal, central, anterior, and posterior spondylitis according to the portion involved, and central spondylitis can be mistaken as a tumor.

Materials and Methods

Imaging studies were performed in a 79-year-old female with progressive lower extremity weakness. We found a T12 pathologic vertebral fracture, which was suspected to be metastatic cancer.


We performed surgery and found spine tuberculosis in the pathological and immunological examinations. Two weeks postoperatively, the patient could walk with crutches and underwent anti-tuberculosis therapy.


Even when the results of imaging studies predict spinal metastasis, we should keep in mind the possibility of spinal tuberculosis.

Keywords: Spine; Pathologic fracture; Neoplasm metastasis; Tuberculosis; Decompression


Fig. 1
Anteroposterior and lateral X-rays of the T-L spine show a T12 compression fracture.
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Fig. 2
(A) A low signal in the bone marrow of T11 and T12, as well as cord compression can be observed in the T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). (B) The T2-weighted MRI demonstrates a low signal in T12 with cord compression. (C) The gadolinium-enhanced MRI shows enhancement of the T11, T12, and L1 vertebral bodies and T12 bilateral pedicle with epidural soft tissue formation and dural sac compression.
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Fig. 3
The 18-FDG PET-CT results led to a suspicion of metastatic cancer due to a compression fracture in T12 with uneven hypermetabolic lesions in T11-L1.
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Fig. 4
Postoperative simple X-ray shows T12 posterior decompression with vertebroplasty and posterolateral fusion in T9-L3.
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Fig. 5
Photomicrograph from excisional biopsy shows chronic granulomatous inflammation (white arrow) with necrosis (black arrow) (hematoxylin-eosin stain, 200×).
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