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Is bone tuberculosis curable?

Q: I am a 29 years old male suffering from bone tuberculosis for the last two years. I am experiencing pain in my left ribs and dry cough. I have taken Cephalosporins for the problem. How can bone tuberculosis be treated? Is it curable? How much time would it take to cure?

A:The selection of drugs used in the treatment for tuberculosis (TB) affecting the bones is similar to that of pulmonary TB. However, the duration of treatment is much longer (generally up to an year or more) and so are the problems of prolonged therapy (cost, complications, side effects). The diagnostic methods used in the treatment of bone TB depends on the clinical presentation, part of the body affected.

Generally the investigations would involve some form of imaging (X-ray, CT scan or MRI). Repeat scans or imaging studies may be required to monitor response to treatment, investigate for complications, or as a diagnostic or therapeutic intervention. The duration of treatment required to achieve cure is difficult to predict because of several unknown factors (details of the extent and site of anatomical involvement, drug sensitivity of the strain causing the TB, attendant complications if any, course of therapy and attendant undesirable effects of therapy). Even during or after the end of specific anti-tuberculous therapy, there might need of additional treatment (e.g. surgery, antibiotic treatment to treat secondary bacterial infections if any, occupational or physiotherapy as the case may be). My best wishes with you. I suggest you consult an experienced TB specialist for more specific advice.

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