Tuberculosis of the sternum and clavicle: imaging findings in 15 patients

Skeletal Radiology


OBJECTIVE: To describe the imaging findings in sterno-clavicular tubercular involvement. DESIGN AND PATIENTS: Fifteen patients with pathologically proven tuberculosis of the sternum and clavicle were retrospectively evaluated. Routine radiography, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were used in some or all of the patients. Clinical information and imaging features were evaluated in each case. RESULTS: Eight patients had sternoclavicular joint (SCJ) involvement, five had isolated sternal involvement and two had isolated clavicular involvement. Seven patients were evaluated with only CT, six with only MRI and two with both. There were eight male and seven female patients, varying in age between 16 and 78 years. Fever, swelling and pain were common presenting symptoms. Two patients were HIV positive. Radiographs were positive in only eight patients. Destruction and signal intensity (SI) changes of the sternum and clavicle, destruction of the cartilage, soft tissue changes representing granulation tissue/abscess, displacement of the adjacent structures (vessels, trachea, etc.) and inflammatory changes in the adjacent structures in the form of cellulitis and myositis were common imaging features. CONCLUSIONS: All imaging methods can provide complementary information regarding sterno-clavicular tubercular involvement that is helpful for determination of the therapy. MRI is useful in determining the extent of the lesion, particularly marrow involvement and soft tissue extent.

Shah, JPatkar, DParikh, BParmar, HVarma, RPatankar, TPrasad, SGERMANYSkeletal Radiol. 2000 Aug;29(8):447-53.