ABC Medical Center > Osteomyelitis

What is Osteomyelitis?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


Refers to an infection in the bones caused mostly by bacteria (most often staphylococci), fungi, or other microorganisms that can spread to a bone from infected skin, muscles, or tendons following injury, spread through the bloodstream from an infection in another part of the body or after surgery to fix bone fractures or joint replacement.

Like any disease, some risk factors can contribute to the onset of osteomyelitis, including:

  • Diabetes, mainly if there are foot ulcers.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Circulatory problems due to smoking.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiotherapy.

Signs and symptoms Osteomyelitis

Even though sometimes there are no symptoms or they are difficult to distinguish from other conditions, mainly in babies, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems, the characteristic symptoms are:

  • Warmth and redness in the infected area
  • Pain where the infection is located.
  • Tiredness.
  • High fever.
  • Inflammation.

Among the risks or complications that can be triggered by osteomyelitis are:

  • Septic arthritis: bone infection can spread to the joints.
  • Skin cancer: especially if there is an open and purulent wound.
  • Poor growth: the development is likely to be affected if the disease occurs in the bones of the upper and lower limbs.
  • Osteonecrosis: bone death is caused by the lack of blood supply, which is why it is necessary to remove the necrotic parts through surgery.

Diagnosis and treatment Osteomyelitis

Once the doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination, paying special attention to the affected bone to find out if there is inflammation, heat, and sensitivity.

They will also request blood tests and imaging studies such as x-rays, computed tomography, MRI, and a bone biopsy to try to identify the type of microorganism causing the infection.

The treatment plan will be determined based on the direct cause of the osteomyelitis, the degree of progress of the infection, the area in which it is located, and the severity of the symptoms, but most cases require surgical intervention to remove infected parts and dead bone areas.

Depending on the progress of the infection, surgery for osteomyelitis may include some of these procedures or a combination thereof:

  • Drain pus from the affected area. 
  • Bone and tissue debridement: parts of infected or necrotic bone are removed.
  • Guarantee blood circulation in the bone: placing healthy tissues in the empty areas due to removal.
  • Amputation: When the infection does not respond to antibiotics and becomes uncontrollable, the damaged limb will need to be amputated to prevent further infection.

After surgery, you’ll be given intravenous antibiotics for several weeks.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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