Bone infection

Bone infections

Infection is the invasion of the body by organisms that can cause disease. Bone infections occur when bacteria (in most cases) penetrate bone and circulatory system.Bone infection or osteomyelitis occurs both in children and adults and can affect any bone in the body. If not treated, can cause permanent deformation of the bones.
In children is common, usually acute form of the disease, and adults are more likely to develop chronic osteomyelitis. Osteomyelitis occurs quite frequently in people who suffer from serious medical conditions.
When bone is infected, bone marrow inside it will swell and presses the inner tissue. Blood vessels are compressed, which would disrupt or diminish the blood supply to the bone. Without adequate blood flow, some parts of the bone may die and the infection can not be controlled in these areas. It is therefore necessary correct diagnosis and early treatment of osteomyelitis.

In general, bone infections caused by bacteria, and other microorganisms that can damage bones directly. Bacteria can enter the bone through open fractures, trauma with a blunt object contaminated surgery or bites.
Another cause of osteomyelitis may be infection in another part of the body, which leads to bone through the circulatory system. The cause of infection is known as hematogenous osteomyelitis and is the most common form of the disease in children.
Osteomyelitis can be triggered by bacteria (including mycobacteria), and fungi. The bacteria most commonly involved are Staphylococcus aureus, group A streptococcus, Escherichia coli, Hemophilus influenzae and Enterobacteriaceae.
Bones can become infected as a result of infection adjacent bone or soft tissue. In this case, the infection can spread within a few days or weeks, the bone.


The main signs of osteomyelitis are:

  • fever or chills
  • lethargy or irritability (in infants)
  • pain in the infected area
  • swelling, warmth and redness over the infected area.

However, bone infection manifestations vary depending on the cause and location of infection.

Arms and legs bone infection causes fever and local pain. Portions of the skin over the affected bones may be swollen, hot and painful. The patient can lose weight and may feel tired.
Vertebrae infection develops, usually gradually, causing persistent pain and sensitivity to touch back. The pain will worsen during movement and will not fade after rest, warm compresses or analgesic. Fever (which is usually the most obvious sign of infection) will be absent.
When osteomyelitis occurs due to adjacent soft tissue infection or direct invasion by pathogens bone, the bone above will swell and become painful. Into surrounding tissues can form abscesses. Possible that people with this type of osteomyelitis have no fever. However, pain is present and is persistent.
If the infection is not treated successfully bones can develop chronic osteomyelitis. This is a persistent infection difficult to treat. Sometimes chronic osteomyelitis not show any symptoms for long periods of time. Sometimes, there are recurrent infections, bone and soft tissue covering the bone, in which case it is necessary drainage.

There is an investigation which clearly reveals the presence of osteomyelitis.
Your doctor may suspect the presence of osteomyelitis depending on your symptoms and physical examination.

  •  The specialist may recommend and conducting surveys to measure erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein and leukocyte levels. The high values ​​obtained from these investigations contribute to the diagnosis of osteomyelitis, but not enough to diagnose the disease.
  • X-ray of the affected area may show specific changes osteomyelitis, if this test is done within 3 weeks after onset of symptoms.
  •  Using MRI and computerized tomography can detect infected area with the help of these tests can distinguish the type of bone disorders and obtain detailed images of soft tissue surrounding the bone.
  •  Bone biopsy is essential in many cases to diagnose osteomyelitis because it can detect using the kind of pathogen that infected bone. Knowing the type of bacteria will allow the doctor to choose the appropriate antibiotic to treat infection target.

For children and adults who have recently developed bone infections transmitted through the bloodstream from another infected area of the body, antibiotics are the most common treatment. If the bacteria that cause infection can not be identified, use broad-spectrum antibiotics. Depending on the severity of the infection, antibiotics may be administered intravenously over 4-8 weeks and after that can be administered orally.
If it is suspected or identified a fungal infection, it will make antifungal therapy over several months. If the infection is detected in an early stage, surgery is not necessary.
For adults who osteomilita vertebrae bacterial, antibiotic treatment is usually for 6-8 weeks. Sometimes it takes bed rest and even wearing a prosthesis. Surgery will be done to drain the abscess and to stabilize the affected arteries (to prevent their collapse and damage nearby nerves, spinal cord or blood vessels).
When osteomyelitis infection result from adjacent soft test, treatment will be more complex. Usually necrotic tissue and bone affected will be removed surgically and will be replaced with bone, muscle and skin healthy. The infection is then treated with antibiotics.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be beneficial for people diagnosed with osteomyelitis, because accelerates bone healing.

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