Osteomyelitis is an inflammation or swelling of bone tissue that is usually the result of an infection. The condition can affect all populations, but is more common in infants, children, and older adults. Populations at increased risk include individuals with weakened immune systems, recent trauma, or diabetes.
Osteomyelitis can have a sudden onset, a slow to mild onset, or may be a chronic problem, depending on the source of the infection.
Symptoms of osteomyelitis vary, depending on the cause and if it is a rapid or slow onset of infection. They may also resemble other medical conditions or problems. The most common symptoms of osteomyelitis include:
The goal for treatment of osteomyelitis is to cure the infection and minimize any long-term complications.
At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our physicians may recommend a combination of the following treatment options:
In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to drain infectious fluid, or to remove damaged tissue and bone.
Acute osteomyelitis, a bone infection that predominantly occurs in children, is usually caused by the staph bacteria. Treatment has traditionally been straightforward because most S. aureus bacteria can be killed with existing antibiotics.
Recently, however, more children with osteomyelitis have been developing the more severe, antibiotic-resistant, community-associated MRSA, resulting in more complications and prolonged antibiotic therapy and hospital stays.
Our infectious disease specialists say osteomyelitis might be more common in children because kids tend to be more accident-prone. Most commonly, the bones get infected when bacteria reach the bone through the blood supply. It is thought that minor trauma to the bone facilitates the start of the infection.