In this article, we are going to talk about a rare disease called osteomyelitis, which has virulent consequences. Osteomyelitis symptoms include pain in the affected area, fever,abscess. Osteomyelitis treatment must contain a course of strong antibiotics. In some cases, a surgery may be required. Below you may read the detailed information about the cause for this disease, as well as methods of its diagnosis.
Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone that causes inflammation of the bone or bone marrow. It is an uncommon, but a very serious condition, that is often caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The bacteria can enter the bone in multiple ways, through the bloodstream, an open fracture or surgery. Acute Osteomyelitis can develop within seven to ten days.
The symptoms for both acute and chronic Osteomyelitis include:
- Spikes in temperature; fever and chills
- Irritability, fatigue, nausea
- Pain and swelling around the diseased area
- Limited mobility of the joint
If the condition invades the spine bone, it may cause:
- Extreme backaches especially during the night
OSTEOMYELITIS TREATMENT OPTIONS
Osteomyelitis is most commonly treated by surgery to remove portions of bone that are infected or dead and followed by antibiotics to stop further infection. Hospitalization may be necessary and the length of stay depends on how severe the infection is.
- Surgical Treatment: The type of surgery depends on severity of Osteomyelitis and some common treatments include:
- Draining: Your surgeon will operate the area around the infected bone and drain any pus or fluid that has accumulated due to the infection.
- Debridement: The doctor will aim to remove as much dead or diseased bone and tissue as possible. To assure total removal of the infection, a small amount of healthy bone will be removed. Tissues surrounding the area that show signs of infection will also be removed.
- Restore blood flow: To allow new bones or tissue to grow, the open space left after the debridement will be filled with healthy bone or tissue from another part of your body such as skin or muscle.
Temporary fillers may be placed into the open space until you’re healthy enough for a bone/tissue graft. The graft will help your body to fix damaged blood vessels and aid in forming new bone.
- Remove any surgical objects: Previously implanted surgical plates or screws in the infected areas will be removed.
- Amputation: As a last resort, amputation of the infected limb may be required to stop the infection from spreading any further.
- Medications: After surgery, a biopsy of the bone will indicate the bacterium that has caused the infection. This will determine the type of antibiotic that your doctor will prescribe for you. Normally, antibiotics will be administered through your arm over the course of four to six weeks. For more serious infections, an additional course of oral antibiotics may be prescribed.
DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES AVAILABLE TO DETECT OSTEOMYELITIS
- History taking: An examination of recent infections on all areas of the body, current use of medications, your medical and your family’s medical history.
- Physical examination: A thorough physical examination of possible infected areas and areas that appear swollen, tender and red. Also your doctor will examine your level of mobility and any open wounds you have.
- Blood tests: There is no specific blood test to diagnose Osteomyelitis. But blood test can indicate any possible infections in your body. Possible blood tests include: Complete Blood Count, Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate, C-Reactive Protein and Blood Cultures.
- X-rays: In the later stages of Osteomyelitis, X-rays can reveal bone damage that you have. Additional digital images can provide more detailed information if the condition occurred not too long ago.
- Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan: A CT scan creates a more detailed cross-sectional image of the bones. CT scan uses X-ray images, which are performed from many different angles and combines them into a detailed cross-sectional views of the patient’s inner parts of the body.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI is used to provide more information on the patient’s situation, as it produces a better image that includes bones, cartilage and other soft tissues.
- Biopsy:The bone biopsy is the best method to diagnose Osteomyelitis. It can also immediately indicate what bacteria have caused the Osteomyelitis, allowing your doctor to prescribe the right antibiotics for you.
In an open biopsy, a section of the bone will be extracted to conduct the biopsy. In some instances, a long needle may be used to penetrate through your skin and tissue to take a biopsy. This procedure requires local anesthetics to numb the area where the needle is inserted. X-ray or other imaging scans may also be used for guidance.