Osteomyelitis refers to a bone infection, usually caused by a bacteria. This can result in the destruction of the bone itself. It can be characterized as:
It is further classified as:
Secondary (follows an acute phase)
The most common symptoms are bone pain and high fever:
The symptoms of acute osteomyelitis include:
Symptoms of chronic osteomyelitis:
In cases of chronic osteomyelitis, symptoms usually recur that have been experienced during a previous infection. Symptoms can flare up at any time:
It is generally caused due to bacteria especially staphylococcus aureus.
It is generally seen in children and if it is seen in adults it is due to:
To confirm a diagnosis of osteomyelitis, doctor may carry out a physical examination of affected body part to check for redness, swelling and tenderness.
Patient is also referred for a blood test. This cannot confirm osteomyelitis, but can indicate infection by number of white blood cells in the blood.
If osteomyelitis is suspected, further imaging testing may be conducted. There are several imaging tests that may be able to detect bone damage caused by osteomyelitis. They include:
If earlier testing suggests osteomyelitis, it is usually necessary to remove a small sample of bone for further testing. This is known as a biopsy. A biopsy is usually necessary to confirm a diagnosis of osteomyelitis and can help establish the exact type of bacteria or fungus causing your infection. This can be very useful when deciding on the most effective treatment. A biopsy is usually combined with surgery in chronic cases.
In Acute cases: Antibiotics are used as successful line of treatment.
In Chronic cases: With antibiotics and surgery are used as combination therapy. Surgery may be used to remove bone, to drain pus from a wound or abscess, or to remove and replace a joint replacement if it was the cause of infection.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy: Non-surgical treatment called hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be useful in treating cases of both acute and chronic osteomyelitis that do not respond to conventional treatment.