Tubercular Osteomyelitis of the Orbit Presenting as Periorbital Cellulitis


Purpose: Osteomyelitis of the orbital bones presenting as an orbital cellulitis is a rare form of extrapulmonary tuberculosis (TB). We report a rare case of tubercular osteomyelitis of the orbital bones presenting as a periorbital cellulitis.

Case Report: A seven-year-old female child presented to our tertiary eye care center with swelling involving the right eyelids and the right cheek for two months. She had been provisionally diagnosed elsewhere as pre-septal cellulitis and had been given oral antibiotics. We clinically diagnosed her as orbital cellulitis, but her non-responsiveness to intravenous antibiotics prompted us to get a contrast enhanced computed tomography (CECT) of the orbit and paranasal sinuses, which was suggestive of tubercular etiology. However, the patient had no foci for TB elsewhere. We used a relatively new, but rapid test, called Cartridge-based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) on the pus aspirate which was positive for TB. Thereafter, the patient was started on anti-tubercular treatment to which she responded wonderfully.

Conclusion: A high index of suspicion should be kept for TB infection in cases of orbital cellulitis with unusual clinical behavior in an endemic region such as India.


Orbital Tuberculosis, Periorbital Cellulitis, Tubercular Osteomyelitis

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