Case Report: Delayed treatment of tuberculosis of the elbow joint

Desdiani Desdiani, Hidayat Rizal, Anindita Basuki, Fadilah Fadilah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extrapulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is known to occur in the musculoskeletal system, including the elbow joints. These cases are rarely found because the signs and symptoms are not specific to extrapulmonary TB or other diseases. We report a case of a 24-year-old male, who complained about pain in his left elbow and noticed swelling. Initially, he complained about pain all over his left arm, after several reflexology massages to alleviate his toothache. However, instead of seeking medical treatment, he visited a traditional massage therapist every week without improvement in his left arm pain including his left elbow for almost one year. Examination showed skin perforation with discharge. He also had fever during the first few days when the elbow became swollen. Weight loss and a decreased appetite were also noticed by the patient. The patient went to the orthopedic department and underwent surgery. Radiological examination indicated bone erosion on the left humerus and radius, while posteroanterior chest X-ray did not show any abnormality. Histopathological examinations from biopsy and fluid aspiration showed granulomas and datia Langhans cells. Mycobacterium tuberculosis was found on acid-fast bacteria smear and culture. The patient was administered multidrug tuberculosis therapy, which consisted of two months of an intensive phase and seven months of a continuation phase, in accordance with the World Health Organization's guidelines for extrapulmonary tuberculosis treatment. He has currently undergone the continuation phase of the treatment and his condition has improved. Early detection of tuberculosis of the elbow can prevent damage to joint structure and impairment of joint function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number486
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Arthritis
  • Delayed treatment
  • Elbow
  • Tuberculosis


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