Osteomyelitis is an infection in the bone. Infection is more common in the long bones of the body, but it can affect any bone in the body. Osteomyelitis can occur in children of any age, but is more common in premature infants and babies born with complications since their immune systems may not be fully developed.
Many different types of bacteria can cause osteomyelitis. The most common type of bacteria is called Staphylococcus aureus. Fungi can also cause osteomyelitis. The bacteria and fungi can enter the body in a variety of ways including, but not limited to, the following:
The following are the most common symptoms of osteomyelitis. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
It is important to seek medical attention immediately if osteomyelitis is suspected. The symptoms of osteomyelitis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.
The doctor makes the diagnosis of osteomyelitis with a complete medical history of the child, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. The doctor obtains a complete prenatal and birth history of the child and asks if the child has any recent colds or other infections.
Diagnostic procedures may include:
Specific treatment for osteomyelitis will be determined by your child's doctor based on:
The goal of treatment is to relieve the pain and completely treat the infection. Treatment may include one, or a combination, of the following:
In most cases, the infection is cured with antibiotic medication. In severe cases of osteomyelitis, the infection can be very destructive to the bone, surrounding muscles, tendons, and blood vessels, resulting in long-term or chronic infection. Amputation of the infected limb is rare.
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