Osteomyelitis is the condition in which the bones are infected. Bone infection from one part can spread to the other bone. Bone infection may also occur due to the exposure of open fracture. Bone can also get infected from tissue infection or by means of blood infection. In children, bones on the legs and upper arm are mostly infected by osteomyelitis and in adults’ spine or vertebral column gets infected. Diabetic people can develop bone infection from their feet due to ulcers on their feet. Osteomyelitis can be treated by medications and for some people surgery is done for removing the infected bone.
The bone infection in any part of the body is reflected in the form of fever, chills, moderate to intense pain in the infected area, swelling and redness on the infected area and irritability is seen. In rare cases, osteomyelits may not show any symptoms thus becoming difficult to distinguish and treat it.
Bone infection is caused by bacteria by name Staphylococcus aureus. This bacterium is present in the skin or even on the nose of individuals and when the conditions are favorable it starts infecting the bones.
Germs or bacteria will enter the bone through bloodstream. For instance when a person gets pneumonia the germs will travel into the blood and reach a weak spot of the bone and starts infecting it. Very often osteomyelitis infection occurs in soft areas of the bone like growth plates which are present in extremities of the body.
The infection can also be caused through severe kind of wounds that send germs deep inside the body. There is chance for the germs to spread to the nearby bone from the wound. Sever types of open fracture can get contaminated is it is kept exposed out of the skin. It can get contaminated during joint replacement surgery or while repairing fractures.
Who are at risk?
Osteomyelitis is a rare disorder affecting one in every 10,000 people. If a person has got severe injury or has undergone orthopedic surgery, the germs can enter into the bones nearby. During surgery sometimes the path of the bone is kept open for the entry of the germs easily.
People with circulation disorders like blocked blood vessels, are prone to get osteomyelitis infection. For instance, diabetes (not managed properly), peripheral arterial disease, and Sickle cell disorder can cause this infection. Frequent use of intravenous injection or catheters can also spread infection to the bones. People who depend on urinary catheters for passing urine, who use dialysis machines and people who are on IV tubes for long time can get infection of osteomyelitis.
Finally when the body’s immunity gets tampered due to medical condition like chemotherapy, organ transplantation and prolonged usage of corticosteroids and alcoholism can cause infection on the bones. In rare cases, complications occur due to osteomyelitis, causing bone death, septic arthritis or impaired growth of bones affecting the growth plates and even skin cancer when it infects the squamous cell.
The doctor may request for blood culture for determining the level of white blood cells. (Increased WBC can be due to infection), He may also order for CT scan, X-ray or MRI scan for getting precise images of the infected bones. He may also do a bone biopsy by collecting small sample of bone and sending it to the laboratory for detecting the presence of germ.
Antibiotics are given to manage infection. For severe condition of infection, the person has to be hospitalized and treated. After ascertaining the type of germ that has infected the bone, your doctor will start with antibiotics through Intravenous injection for 4-6 weeks. Strong antibiotics can keep the infection under control and often it is not necessary to do surgery. However, it can cause adverse effects like nausea or vomiting.
If the bone infection is very severe causing death of the bone, it has to be removed through surgery. The surgeon would open the area to drain the pus inside. Then by debridement he would gently remove the diseased bone fully. In this process the surrounding tissues will also be removed if it is infected. He would fill the empty space with another piece of bone or tissue for restoring the blood flow. In some cases, the surgeon will remove surgical screws and plates that are placed during surgery done earlier. As a last measure, he will amputate the limb or affected area to prevent infection from spreading.
Pictures of Osteomyelitis :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Osteomyelitis
If there is any cut or wound in the body, allow it to heal as quickly as possible. Keep it clean by washing it regularly and applying a bandage. In case you have chronic infection of any other kind, talk to your doctor for keeping the infection under control. For people with diabetes, it is necessary to monitor any changes in the feet since it can get infected easily.