Osteomyelitis is a malady of the bone. The onset of osteomyelitis is in its prodromal stages, when the individual endures bacterial infection that has its roots in another part of the body.
Osteomyelitis — from the bone — gradually disperses to other parts of the body; blood being the carrier of the infection. Osteomyelitis can be an acute ailment or a chronic malady by nature. The causes of Osteomyelitis originates from an infection that the body gets infected with. There may be an infection in the urinary tract, or in the vertebrae with bacteria regarded as Staphylococcus Aureus. This bacterial infection is then carried from the majorly infected body part to other healthy body parts, further leading to sepsis and bacteremia. Sepsis is an inflammatory condition that progresses as time elapses, and bacteremia is an ailment where bacteria is diagnosed in the blood stream. This ailment is inflicted on feet, the spine, the pelvis, and the vertebrae. The pelvic region is most susceptible to osteomyelitis in adults, whereas in children infection can be experienced in the thigh bones or femur, meaning the long bones.
The procedure for diagnosis begins with tests with regard to a complete physical examination. The tests involve bone scans, bone lesion biopsies, and MRIs that are conducted to comprehend the degree of pain, swelling, and redness the condition has escalated to. In certain cases, where the condition becomes very serious, an aspiration needle is injected into the affected area from where pus-like fluid is secreted.
If the osteomyelitis condition is found in children, it is termed Hematogenous osteomyelitis. This ailment is contracted by children aged between two to five years. Nevertheless, it can also be diagnosed in newborns. Besides contracting osteomyelitis as a blood stream infection, children might, as well contract the ailment through open wounds, bone fractures, and minor surgeries. It is always better, if the diagnosis of the condition is conducted at the onset of the same. If the condition is caught to be driving havoc with your system in its prodromal stages, the treatment is rapid and recovery is not too far a proposition.
☛ The first step in diagnosis is physical examination where the practitioner will check the degree of redness, and swelling displayed by the affected body part. In the course of physical examination, your practitioner may advise you a blood test. A blood test may not prove a thorough indicator of the ailment; however, a complete blood count sure indicates if the white blood cells (WBCs) are higher than the prescribed amount required in the body. A higher count of white blood cells is a clear indicator that you have an infection. Besides this, in cases where osteomyelitis spreads through the presence of bacteria in blood, it is required that the blood test be conducted.
☛ Following the complete blood count test, are the imaging tests conducted to arrive on a detailed diagnosis. Your general practitioner would prescribe certain imaging tests. One of the premier tests advised is an X-ray. An X-ray would reveal the degree of damage to the bone. However, as X-ray is a basic imaging test, a higher degree of damage, if persists, may not be revealed. Advanced imaging tests are the need of the hour in such a situation. With Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) a detailed image of the affected bone is formed.
☛ Computerized tomography (CT) scan is used to derive a far detailed view of the affected bone, and subsequently draw a conclusion about the treatment meant to be undertaken. This is an imaging method, where images of the bone are captured assuming different positions or angles. These images are conclusively combined to derive a detailed, pars pro toto, 3-Dimensional image of the bone in question.
☛ If preliminary tests hint toward osteomyelitis, a biopsy is conducted to facilitate further, more advanced tests. In a biopsy, a culture of the bone is extracted to further confirm the probability of the condition. A biopsy is subject to reflecting the type of bacteria or fungus that is causing the infection to occur and thereby spread to other parts of the body. In most cases, a biopsy is conducted to conclude the best form of treatment suitable for the stage of the condition.
Treating Osteomyelitis in children involves administering intravenous antibiotics that work in fighting against — and in the process — destroying the bacteria that causes osteomyelitis. This form of treatment is approximately four weeks long. It is followed by a prognosis treatment where your child is put on oral antibiotic medication.
☛ In case of acute osteomyelitis, it is possible to handle the condition and tackle the ailment through administering antibiotics prescribed by your general practitioner; however, with antibiotics for treatment, you must ensure that you discuss the side effects of adhering to the same. Most antibiotics, certainly, have some form of side effect; ranging from mild to severe demanding medical attention. Discussing the side effects and scouring the contents of the medication prescribed, helps you understand what you are consuming.
☛ In cases, where the osteomyelitis becomes chronic, the pus filled up in the bone, can restrict the blood flow to the bone, thereby adding to the complication and spreading the infection to other parts of the body. For chronic patients, it is recommended that they be directed toward adopting surgical measures to get rid of this ailment. In chronic osteomyelitis, involving a surgical procedure becomes a prerequisite to controlling the ailment. The surgical procedure involves grafting a layer of skin on the cavity. The need for an operation, thus, is signaled, when the patient is suffering from excruciating pain, has wounds and those wounds need to be covered in order to facilitate the healing of ulcers, so that infection, even in an acute state, does not recur.
☛ Besides this, the infected area, if filled with pus, may also be drained. If any other surgery was formerly conducted that involved the use of any surgical fixture, sited near the affected bone, necessitates the removal of the prosthesis. Nevertheless, another prosthetic device may be implanted during the surgery. In certain cases, however, the surgeons let the bone settle and heal considerably with the infection deemed under control, and it is only after a thorough check that the prosthetic device is suitably implanted. This procedure, termed debridement, is conducted in order to normalize the blood flow to the bone. Thus, this mode of treating osteomyelitis has a high probability of success, in cases, where the bone is heavily affected by the condition.
☛ Another therapy known as the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) may be used; however, it may not be put to practice on a routine basis. In hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the intensity and pressure of oxygen is increased, while the patient is asked to assume a supine position. The intentional increase of oxygen content in the body, thereby helps patients with poor blood circulation. When a boost of oxygen, i.e., 2 to 3 levels higher than the normal atmosphere pressure, is imparted to the system, oxygen levels increase that inadvertently facilitate efficient blood circulation. The individual, for this particular therapy, is accommodated in a chamber. This chamber ideally capacitates only for one individual. This arrangement is known as monoplace chamber. It, however, may have the capacity to accommodate two to three patient with a medical supervisor, as well; this arrangement being regarded as a multiplace chamber.
☛ In some unfortunate cases where the surgical procedure has not contributed to the betterment of the condition, amputating the affected area is the last and final resort to brake the spread of infection to other parts of the body. Those with diabetes and poor blood circulation may be at a greater risk hence the requirement to amputate the affected part. A clarification with regard to amputation of the affected body part: Amputation, I am afraid I am being repetitive, is the last stage to help control the infection. In the recent years, however, with dynamic surgical and medical protocols, osteomyelitis has forms of treatment that help redeem the limb, thereby refuting the ablative procedures. Besides, the bone infection may preponderantly be cured, provided, a follow-up routine — though long term — is adhered to religiously.
Keeping these treatment modes in mind, it is essential to acknowledge that the best way to fight osteomyelitis or any ailment is by practicing cleanliness. Hygienic conditions are very important in order to fight any ailment that can serve to be fatal in the future. After all, prevention, always, is way better than cure! …
Disclaimer: The article published herein, is meant to accomplish pedagogical purposes only. The recommendations mentioned hereby, may not be generically applicable. The information, by no means, intends to supplant the diagnosis and advice imparted by the medical practitioner.