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Pott's disease

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Caries or osteitis of the vertebrae, usually of tuberculous origin (mycobacterium tuberculosis), characterized by softening and collapse of the vertebrae, often resulting in kyphosis, a hunchback deformity (Pott's curvature). Occasionally, the spinal nerves are affected, and a rigid paralysis (Pott's paraplegia) may result. Often infection spreads to paravertebral tissues giving rise to paravertebral abscesses. Occur in both sexes; onset (gradual) at all stages. Affected persons complain of pain on movement and tend to assume a protective, upright stiff position. The course of the disease is slow, lasting months or years.

This condition had previously been known to the ancients and Hippocrates had described it. It was also described in 1779 by the French physician Jean Pierre David, French physician, 1737-1784


  • J. P. David:
    Dissertation sur les effets du mouvement et de repos dans les maladies chirurgicales.
    Paris, Vve. Vallet-La-Chapelle, 1779.
  • P. Pott:
    Remarks on that Kind of Palsy of the Lower Limbs Which is Frequently Found to Accompany a Curvature of the Spine, and is Supposed to be Caused by it. Together with its Method of Cure.
    London, J. Johnson, 1779. Farther Remarks on the Useless State of the Lower Limbs, in Consequence of a Curvature of the Spine: Being a Supplement to a Former Treatise on that Subject.
    London, 1782.

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