Surgical management of abdominal tuberculosis in a tertiary care referral center


  • Subramaniam Swaminathan Surgeon Commander, INHS Sanjivani, Naval Base, Kochi, Kerala, India
  • C. S. Naidu Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplantation, Army Hospital R and R, Delhi Cantonment, New Delhi, India
  • P. P. Rao Department of Surgery, Armed Force Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India



Abdominal cocoon, Functionalization of bowel, Gastrointestinal tuberculosis, Right hemicolectomy, Small bowel stricture, Stricturoplasty


Background: Abdominal tuberculosis encompasses gastrointestinal, visceral and peritoneal forms of tuberculosis in different proportions. Their clinical presentation and radiological findings are varied and non-specific often warranting surgical intervention either for confirmation of diagnosis or for definitive management.  It is not very clear as of now as to which type of patients would require surgical intervention for diagnosis or treatment of abdominal tuberculosis. This study aims to profile such patients accurately to revalidate the need for surgical intervention in cases of abdominal tuberculosis.

Methods: This study is a retrospective descriptive observational study wherein the documents of patients whose final diagnosis was confirmed as ‘Abdominal Tuberculosis’ from January 2011 to December 2013 were analysed. Their demographic and clinical profile, hematological, biochemical and radiological investigations including barium meal follow-through, ultrasonography, CT scan abdomen, colonoscopy and biopsy, HIV status and ascitic fluid analysis were analysed. Patients in whom diagnosis was not confirmed by these investigations, and therefore underwent diagnostic laparoscopy or exploratory laparotomy were studied. Simultaneously, patients in whom, the diagnosis was confirmed, but still underwent surgical intervention for therapeutic purposes were also analysed.

Results: It was found that 44 out of 54 patients (81.4%) underwent surgical procedure.  28 (52%) required surgical intervention for confirmation of diagnosis (diagnostic procedures: diagnostic laparoscopy- 21 and exploratory laparotomy- 07) while 16 (29.4%) required therapeutic procedures (emergency- 08; elective- 08).

Conclusions: In spite of extensive investigations, many patients of abdominal tuberculosis require surgical management either minimally invasive or otherwise, both for confirmation of diagnosis and for definitive management.

Author Biography

Subramaniam Swaminathan, Surgeon Commander, INHS Sanjivani, Naval Base, Kochi, Kerala, India

Surg Cdr S Subramaniam

Classified Specialist Surgery


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Original Research Articles