Syphilis of the vertebrae has been infrequently reported. There were but 100 cases available for analysis1 in 1912. Neural complications generally accompany this disease; they are often obscure, and many times are extremely grave. Frequently it is through some manifestation in the widely varying symptomatology arising from the nerve involvement that the existence of the osseous disease is suggested, rather than through any symptom arising directly from the spondylitis. It is with the neural features in syphilitic spondylitis that this paper deals.
A striking combination of such neural complications as may be found in this disease was presented in one of my recent cases, which well illustrates the diversity of clinical manifestations which may spring from such spinal axis involvement:
On admission to the hospital, the patient showed alarming symptoms arising from loss of sensation about the larynx, pharynx and esophagus. This impaired sensory condition pointed to disturbance in
WHOLEY CC. COMPLICATED NERVE TISSUE INVOLVEMENT ARISING FROM SYPHILIS OF THE VERTEBRAE. JAMA. 1916;LXVI(9):627-629. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02580350015005