Tuberculosis: the great imitator in the head and neck - our experience of 24 cases in 22 years
El-Wajeh, Yasin, AM
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This retrospective study covered over two decades, during which an individual head and neck surgeon treated 24 patients with cervicofacial lymphadenitis that was related to both Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (n=17, made up of M tuberculosis (n=16) and M bovis (n=1)), and non-tuberculous mycobacteria. The seven cases of non-tuberculous mycobacteria were caused by M avium complex (n=3), M malmoense (n=3), and M kansaii (n=1). By using a tailored management approach, at times selective combined surgical and antimycobacterial treatment, he achieved a success rate of 23/24 cases, with only one recurrence and no major complications. The results suggest that patients with tuberculosis confined to the head and neck rarely develop constitutional symptoms, so the absence of such symptoms may not exclude tuberculosis. There was also a good correlation between predictive variables (immune state, inflammatory markers on admission, causative mycobacterium, and the antimycobacterial regimen used) and time spent under follow-up at the head and neck outpatient clinic.