Rare, Atypical Mycobacterium Infection of the Hand in Immunocompetent Individuals


We present two cases of immunocompetent individuals diagnosed with nontuberculous infections of the hand caused by organisms rarely seen in the clinical setting: Mycobacterium heckeshornense and Mycobacterium chelonae. In the first case, a 50-year-old male presented with tenosynovitis of left long finger. He was subsequently found to have a Mycobacterium heckeshornense infection that was resolved with multiple surgeries and a long-term regimen of several antibiotics. The second case was a 29-year-old female with a history of a trivial hand injury infected with Mycobacterium chelonae. She was successfully treated with surgical debridement and antibiotics over the course of eight months. It is important to recognize the increasing prevalence of these two species of bacteria as human pathogens that can result in infections of the extremities even in immunocompetent individuals. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 32(1):055–058, 2023)

Key words: Mycobacterium chelonae, Mycobacterium heckeshornense, tenosynovitis, hand infection

Jersey Burns, MD; Linda Chao, MD; Elizabeth Palavecino, MD; Shadi Qasem, MD; and Zhongyu Li, MD, PhD