Osteomyelitis

  • Definition

    Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. The infection may be:
    • Acute—for a short time
    • Chronic—lasting for a long time
    In adults, the pelvis and the bones of the back are the most common sites. In children, the long bones are most likely to be affected. These are found in the arms and legs.
  • Causes

    This infection is caused by a bacteria.
  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your chance of osteomyelitis include:
  • Symptoms

    Symptoms include:
    • Bone pain
    • Fever or chills
    • Tenderness, warmth, swelling, or redness of the skin or joint
    • Drainage of pus
    • Nausea
    • Fatigue or irritability
    • Restricted movement of the area
    • A sore over a bone that does not heal
    Skin Infection Spreading to Bone
    Bone Infection
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
    Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:
    Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
  • Treatment

    The affected area may be treated with a splint to prevent it from moving. Avoiding weight bearing activities may also be advised.
    Antibiotics
    This infection is treated with antibiotics. They are given by IV and sometimes by mouth. Acute osteomyelitis is treated for at least 4-6 weeks. Chronic osteomyelitis may require antibiotics for a longer period of time.
    This infection is treated with antibiotics. They are given by IV and sometimes by mouth. Acute osteomyelitis is treated for at least 4-6 weeks. Chronic osteomyelitis may require antibiotics for a longer period of time.
    Surgery
    Surgery may be required to:
    • Clean infected bone via scraping and irrigating the area
    • Remove any fragments of dead bone or tissue that may prolong the infection
    In severe cases, amputation may be necessary.
    Skin Graft
    In some situations, your doctor may recommend a skin graft . The skin in the affected area is replaced with healthy skin taken from another part of your body.
    If you are diagnosed with osteomyelitis, follow your doctor's instructions .
    If you are diagnosed with osteomyelitis, follow your doctor's instructions .
  • Prevention

    To reduce your risk of getting osteomyelitis:
    • Seek immediate medical care for infections or injuries.
    • Keep diabetes under good control.
    • Do not use illegal drugs.
    • See your doctor for any sores that do not heal.
    • If you smoke, quit .
  • RESOURCES

    American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.aaos.org

    National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases http://www.niams.nih.gov

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org

    Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org

    References

    Bone and joint infections. Mayo Clinic Health Letter . February 26, 2001.

    Carek PJ, Dickerson LM, et al. Diagnosis and management of osteomyelitis. Am Fam Physician . 2001;63(12).

    Osteomyelitis. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/orthopaedics-rheumatology/diseases-conditions/hic-osteomyelitis.aspx . Updated January 12, 2009. Accessed July 25, 2013.

    Osteomyelitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 11, 2013. Accessed July 26, 2013.

    Osteomyelitus. Nemours' KidsHealth website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases%5Fconditions/bones/osteomyelitis.html#a%5FCan%5FI%5FPrevent%5FOsteomyelitis%5F . Updated January 2010. Accessed July 25, 2013.

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