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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Osteomyelitis: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Bones, Joints, and Muscles


Alternate Names : Bone Infections

Osteomyelitis | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the infection?

Antibiotics are usually given for 4 or more weeks. If the infection goes away, no further treatment is needed. This most commonly occurs in children with a first-time infection. Pain medication can be given if needed.

Surgery is often needed, especially in those with diabetes, poor circulation, and artificial joints. People who have repeated or chronic infections also usually need surgery. Surgery may simply involve cleaning the infected bone by scraping and irrigation, called debridement. In other cases, amputation, or removal of affected bones, may be the only alternative. Skin grafts may be needed for skin breakdown if a person has poor circulation to the area. Other treatments may also be needed in certain cases.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Antibiotics may cause allergic reactions, stomach upset, or headaches. Specific side effects depend on the antibiotics used. Surgery carries a risk of bleeding and new infections. Reactions to pain medications may also occur.

What happens after treatment for the infection?

In some cases, the person is cured of the infection and needs no more treatment. In other cases, the infection becomes chronic, or comes back, and further treatment and monitoring are needed. The underlying cause, such as diabetes or poor circulation, may also need further treatment.

How is the infection monitored?

Symptoms, repeat exams, and repeat blood tests or x-rays may all be used to monitor this condition. Other monitoring is related to the cause. For example, those with diabetes need to check their blood sugar levels often.

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Osteomyelitis: Prevention & Expectations


Author: Adam Brochert, MD
Reviewer: Eric Berlin, MD
Date Reviewed: 06/07/01

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