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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:

Recommended Related to Lung Disease/Respiratory Problems

Understanding Tuberculosis -- the Basics

Tuberculosis, commonly known as TB, is a bacterial infection that can spread through the lymph nodes and bloodstream to any organ in your body. It is most often found in the lungs. Most people who are exposed to TB never develop symptoms because the bacteria can live in an inactive form in the body. But if the immune system weakens, such as in people with HIV or elderly adults, TB bacteria can become active. In their active state, TB bacteria cause death of tissue in the organs they infect. Active...

Read the Understanding Tuberculosis -- the Basics article > >

  • 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).

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: April 04, 2013
    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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