Pott, John Percivall

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Pott, John Percivall

Brit. surgeon, 1714–1788. He pioneered research into chemical carcinogenesis by describing scrotal cancer in chimney sweeps.

Pott's disease

Infection of the vertebrae caused by miliary (disseminated) tuberculosis. About 1% to 3% of patients with tuberculosis have infections in the bone; the spine is the most common site. Organisms spread from the site of primary infection through the blood. Once established in the spine, the infection moves through the intervertebral disks to multiple vertebrae. When it extends into the surrounding soft tissue, abscesses may be created. Synonym: spinal caries; tuberculous spondylitis


Patients report pain when they move their back. Signs include a low-grade fever, weight loss, and local tenderness. When several upper vertebrae are involved, compression fractures, curvature of the spine (kyphosis), or nerve injury may occur.


See Treatment section under tuberculosis.

Pott's fracture

Fracture of the lower end of the fibula and medial malleolus of the tibia, with dislocation of the foot outward and backward.

Pott's paraplegia

Pott's paralysis.

Pott's paralysis

Paralysis of the lower half of the body due to vertebral infection with tuberculosis and subsequent spinal cord injury
Synonym: Pott's paraplegia
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