BACKGROUND: Head and neck tuberculosis (HNTB), including cervical lymphadenopathy, is the most common extrapulmonary manifestation of TB. The proposed study investigated the epidemiologic and clinical characteristics of HNTB.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A literature search was conducted via PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library and Wanfang for keywords (tuberculosis, head and neck, laryngeal, pharyngeal, tongue, oropharyngeal, nasopharyngeal, and oral cavity). Scientific articles published from January 1990 through July 2017 were selected and reviewed to assess the epidemiology, presentation, diagnosis and treatment of HNTB disease.
RESULTS: Results from the included 57 studies revealed that the majority of HNTB cases were age<40 years and female. The most common HNTB sites were cervical lymph nodes (87.9%), followed by larynx (8.7%). Involvement of other HN-regions was rare (3.4%). Multidrug resistant TB was not common among the majority of studies. Given the paucibacillary nature of HNTB, sputum tests did not have a good performance on HNTB diagnosis. Most of HNTB cases were diagnosed by fine-needle aspiration, cytology and excision biopsies in combination with clinical presentations.
CONCLUSION: HNTB disease is an important manifestation in the diagnostic process in an otolaryngologist practice. The developments of rapid, ultrasensitive, simple and cost-effective high-throughput methods for early diagnosis of HNTB are urgently needed.