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Tuberculosis

TB Scars

02/08/2006

Question:

I suffered with TB around 25 years ago and I am recently suffering with discomfort around the same area. Is this normal? Is this scar tissue being aggrievated by a viral infection that I had around Christmas time? And, if not, does the TB scar tissue mutate into anything else that I should be worried about?

Answer:

Tuberculosis causes destruction of lung tissue when infection is active.  After treatment, especially when TB disease is cavitary or when the host has a normal immune system, evidence of scar tissue can often be seen on a follow-up chest x-ray in the area of the original lung infiltrate.

Scar cancers have been associated with TB, although they are not common.  Lung cancer and TB are not infrequently diagnosed at the same time, in which case it is often not clear which came first.

The bottom line:  if you are suffering from discomfort, you should go see your doctor, and be sure to tell them that you had TB previously.

For more information:

Go to the Tuberculosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Lisa A Haglund, MD Lisa A Haglund, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati