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Joint Bone Spine
Volume 80, n° 6
pages 656-659 (décembre 2013)
Doi : 10.1016/j.jbspin.2013.06.002
accepted : 15 April 2013
When gout involves the spine: Five patients including two inaugural cases

Daniel Wendling a, , Clément Prati a, Bruno Hoen b, Joel Godard c, Claire Vidon a, Marie Godfrin-Valnet a, Xavier Guillot a
a Service de rhumatologie, CHRU de Besançon, Besançon, France 
b Servie des maladies infectieuses et tropicales, CHRU de Besançon, Besançon, France 
c Service de neurochirurgie, CHRU de Besançon, Besançon, France 

Corresponding author. Service de rhumatologie, université de Franche-Comté, CHRU de Besançon, boulevard Fleming, 25030 Besançon, France.

Spinal involvement is uncommon during gout and may raise diagnostic challenges. We describe five cases seen at a single center.


We retrospectively reviewed the medical charts of the five patients with spinal gout seen over a 3-year period.


There were four men and one woman with an age range of 52 to 87 years. One patient presented with acute neck pain and visualization by imaging studies of a discovertebral tophus, another had febrile arthritis of a lumbar facet joint, and a third presented with a synovial cyst in a lumbar facet joint. The remaining two patients had acute febrile discitis confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging, at the cervical spine and lumbar spine, respectively. Laboratory tests showed systemic inflammation in four patients and marked serum uric acid elevation in two patients. Only three patients reported a previous history of peripheral acute gout attacks. Specimens of the spinal lesions were obtained in three patients and consistently showed monosodium urate crystals with tissue inflammation or a tophus. The outcome was rapidly favorable, either with colchicine therapy alone in four patients or after surgical resection of a facet joint cyst (during surgery to stabilize the lumbar spine) in the remaining patient. The patient with neck pain due to a tophus experienced nerve root pain at the acute phase. No other neurological manifestations were recorded.


These case reports illustrate the diagnostic challenges raised by spinal involvement due to gout. The spinal lesions can be inaugural, as seen in two of our five patients.

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Keywords : Gout, Spine, Diskitis, Facet joint arthritis

© 2013  Société française de rhumatologie@@#104156@@