Infection in bones can be caused by bacteria which can reach to the bone either by an open fracture or through the blood stream. Infection of the bone and it’s medullary cavity (which has bone marrow) is often termed as osteomyelitis. Infection can either be bacterial, fungal or other rare pathogens.
The type of osteomyelitis depends on acuteness or the duration of symptoms. On the basis of time taken to affect the bone, osteomyelitis is divided into 3 sub categories :
Acute osteomyelitis develops within few days with severe pain, fever and swelling.
Sub-acute osteomyelitis develops within 1-2 months with pain and occasional fever.
Chronic osteomyelitis develops mostly after 2 months and there may not be any fever and only mild pain.
The following signs may be present in the presence of bone infection :
To confirm presence of bone infection following can be done :
People having following conditions are considered at high risk of developing bone infections :
Treatment depends on the type of osteomyelitis :
Treatment can be done by using appropriate antibiotics after getting blood/ fluid culture, to isolate the germs.
Treatment depends on the severity of the bone affected/ damaged. If there is no damage to the bone then the treatment can be the same as that of acute osteomyelitis, whereas, if the bone is damaged treatment follows the same procedure as that of the chronic osteomyelitis. Chronic osteomyelitis treatment suggests the need for both antibiotics and surgery.
The surgery involves :
The diagnosis requires test of the fluid/ pus discharge to find out which germs are causing the infection.
After diagnosis, the treatment requires surgery to clean up the operated wound thoroughly and to fill up the wound with antibiotic loaded cement beads.
If done properly and early, the cure rates are upto 95%.