Just like tissues and other structures in the body, bones can get infected. Bone infection, known as osteomyelitis, is usually caused by bacteria, but can be caused by fungi or other germs. The infection-causing elements may spread to the bone from nearby skin or muscles, or from another part of the body through the bloodstream. People who have had a recent bone injury or surgery are at greater risk of developing bone infections.
A bone also can become infected when the blood supply to that area is disrupted, so people with atherosclerosis, diabetes or poor circulation, or who are undergoing hemodialysis, have a greater risk of developing a bone infection.
Symptoms of bone infections include:
- Bone pain
- Pain in the infected area
- Chills and fever
- Excessive sweating
- Swelling, warmth and redness
- General discomfort, uneasiness or ill-feeling
Advanced Diagnosis and Healing Treatments
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is one of only seven locations in the nation to use the most advanced ultrasound technology. This quick, painless test allows doctors to diagnose bone infections without using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Once a diagnosis is confirmed, the Ohio State Comprehensive Wound Center team will design a care program to treat the infection and reduce damage to the bone and surrounding tissues.
Treatment may include:
- Antibiotics to destroy the bacteria causing the infection
- Surgery to remove dead bone tissue and replace the area with bone graft or other material to promote the growth of new bone tissue
- Minimally invasive vascular procedures to improve blood flow to the area
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which can help strengthen bone cells, promote new blood vessel growth and improve your immune system’s ability to fight infection
- Complex reconstructive surgery to restore diseased bone and tissues