I. Dhammi, S. Singh, A. Jain

April 2014, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 540 - 544 Case Report Read Full Article 10.1007/s005860100340

First Online: 13 April 2014

Tuberculosis of the craniovertebral region is very rare. Neural deficit in this region is reported in between 24% and 64% of cases, and mainly takes the form of quadriparesis. Hemiplegic and monoplegic presentation among this set of patients is rarer. Out of 32 patients treated at our institution between May 1989 and February 2001, only one had hemiplegia, while two had monoplegia. These three cases are discussed. Case 1 involved a 45-year-old woman who presented with hemiplegia following a trivial fall. Plain radiographs and computed tomographic (CT) scans of the skull appeared normal, but CT scans of C1-C2 and the craniovertebral junction revealed destruction of the dens and atlantoaxial subluxation. The patients in cases 2 and 3 had monoplegia. Plain radiographs in both cases showed an increased prevertebral soft tissue shadow in front of C1-C2. CT in case 2 and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in case 3 revealed destruction of the arch of C1 and the dens, with subluxation. All three patients were successfully treated with rest, skull traction, anti-tubercular drugs and suitable braces. Case 3 required stabilization. All three patients achieved complete neural recovery. Patients 1, 2 and 3 had 22, 48 and 4 months' follow-up respectively. Patient 3 was subsequently transferred to a neurosurgery ward for stabilization of the occipito-C3 vertebrae. Hemi/monoplegic presentation is extremely rare; no author in the literature is able to give reason for the rarity or the pathomechanics of the condition. We believe that if medullary cervical junctional involvement extends slightly higher (in rare circumstances), with involvement of one of the branches of the vertebral or lower basilar artery, medial medullary syndrome will occur, sparing medial lemniscus and emerging hypoglossal nerve fibres. Thus the pyramids will be involved, causing contralateral hemiparesis, and if the pyramids are selectively involved, it will cause contralateral monoparesis.

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