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Tuberculosis (TB) - Surgery

Surgery is rarely used to treat tuberculosis (TB). But it may be used to treat extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) or to treat complications of an infection in the lungs or another part of the body.

Surgery is used to:

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  • Repair lung damage, such as serious bleeding that cannot be stopped any other way, or repeated lung infections other than TB.
  • Remove a pocket of bacteria that cannot be killed with long-term medicine treatment.

Surgery has a high success rate, but it also has a risk of complications, which may include infections other than TB and shortness of breath after surgery.

Surgery for TB outside the lungs

Surgery sometimes may be needed to remove or repair organs damaged by TB in parts of the body other than the lungs (extrapulmonary TB) or to prevent other rare complications, such as:

  • TB infection of the brain (TB meningitis). Your doctor may surgically place a tube (shunt) that drains excess fluid from the brain to prevent a buildup of pressure that can further damage the brain.
  • TB infections of the heart (TB pericarditis). Your surgeon may partially remove or repair the infected sac around the heart.
  • TB infection of the kidneys (renal TB). Your surgeon may need to either remove your infected kidney or repair the kidney or other parts of the urinary system.
  • TB infection of the joints. You may need surgery to repair damaged areas of your spine or joints (orthopedic surgery).

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 04, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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