Osteomyelitis is usually described as an infection of the bone, a very rare but often serious condition. Your bones can become infected in a number of ways possible, but the most common would be an infection on one part of the body spreading through the bloodstream and then entering a bone. Other times it is due to an open fracture or surgery that may increase the chances of a bone’s exposure to infection.
Osteomyelitis can occur in adults most commonly through the spine or vertebrae, while in children the osteomyelitis commonly occurs in the long bones of the arms and the legs. Osteomyelitis that happens in the foot will most likely happen to people who have diabetes.
Osteomyelitis treatment was once deemed impossible, but now the condition can be treated successfully. Most osteomyelitis treatment available for people who have the condition usually includes surgery to remove the affected bone parts, and this is immediately followed by strong antibiotics that are delivered intravenously. The osteomyelitis treatment could go on for as long as four to six weeks.
Diagnosing the Condition
Diagnosing the condition or finding out if the person really has osteomyelitis is usually the first step in osteomyelitis treatment. However, diagnosing a person with the condition can be surprisingly difficult. Doctors will most likely subject you to various diagnostic procedures that will help them correctly diagnose if you have osteomyelitis or not.
Doctors will use x-ray, blood tests, MRIs and sometimes Bone scans to find out what’s going on within your bones if you have the condition or not. Most often, a bone biopsy will be necessary to confirm a doctor’s diagnosis. A bone biopsy will also help the doctor correctly determine what type of organism or bacteria is causing the infection so that the right osteomyelitis treatment medication can be prescribed to the patient.
The osteomyelitis treatment program a doctor will prescribe you will most likely focus on stopping the infection dead in its tracks and preserving as much of the bone and its functions as possible. People with osteomyelitis are often prescribed with antibiotics, and sometimes surgery, or a combination of both.
The Use of Antibiotics
Using antibiotics as treatment can help bring the infection under control if the medications are effective enough then there will probably be no need for a surgery. Antibiotics for people who suffer from osteomyelitis are often administered intravenously, and later on, will be switched to a pill form.
The type of medications that will be prescribed to you by the doctor will largely vary. Bone cultures are sometimes obtained first and several tests will be performed, before a doctor can decide on what type of antibiotic will be prescribed for you as well as the dosage. Antibiotic Treatments for osteomyelitis are will take a minimum of 4 weeks and will usually last for a 6-week course.
Some of the oral antibiotics that will be prescribed for a patient suffering osteomyelitis which has been proven effective are the following: Clindamycin, Rifampin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and fluoroquinolones.
More severe or serious cases of chronic osteomyelitis will require surgery as an osteomyelitis treatment to remove the infected tissue or bone. The surgery involved in osteomyelitis aims to prevent the infection from spreading further, and will usually use all means to prevent an amputation from being the only option available for the patient.
Osteomyelitis treatment surgery will usually involve one or more of the following options:
- Removal of Affected Bone and Tissue– this procedure is usually called debridement, and is done by removing as much of the affected bone and tissue as possible. A surgeon then takes a small margin of healthy bone, this is to ensure that the infected areas have been successfully removed.
- Draining the infected area– by opening the infected area and creating a wound, the surgeon allows pus and any other bodily fluids to drain from the affected bone and tissue. These fluids will have accumulated over time in response to the infection you have had.
- Restoring blood flow– this process usually follows the debridement process and involved grafting an empty space left by the previous procedure with a new piece of bone or other tissue. This graft then helps the body repair the blood vessels in that area that were once damaged by the infection.
Since the primary cause of the condition is an infection, the simple steps to be taken to prevent osteomyelitis from happening is to not allow infections to take place. Take safety precautions to avoid wounds, cuts, and scrapes that may give germs easy access to your body. When there is a wound, especially a deep wound in any part of your body, wash it completely and treat it with sterile bandages.