What is osteomyelitis? What are the treatment options for osteomyelitis?

Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone that is commonly caused by bacteria. If osteomyelitis is diagnosed at an early stage, it can be treated with injection of antibiotics directly into the bloodstream. At advanced stages of the disease, surgical removal of dead tissue and bone is performed.

The infection gets transmitted from some other part of the body to the bone through the blood circulation. It can also spread through infected skin or tissues surrounding the bone. Factors such as diabetes, weakened immune system caused by HIV infection, limb prosthesis, frequent injections into the bone, and bone surgery increase the risk for osteomyelitis. The patient may have pain, swelling, and redness in the affected region associated with high fever.

In severe conditions, amputation of the limb may be required to prevent the spread of infection to other parts of the body. The treatment options for osteomyelitis include:

  • Antibiotics: Intravenous antibiotics are prescribed if osteomyelitis is caused by bacteria.
  • Analgesics: Pain relieving medications will be prescribed to decrease pain.
  • Referral to other specialists: In severe cases, where surgeries and amputation are required, the patient will be referred to an orthopedic surgeon.
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Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/

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