Bone Infection – Causes and Symptoms

Dr Nabil Ebraheim

With almost thirty years of experience as an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Nabil Ebraheim has made numerous contributions to his field, including over four hundred published papers and several significant refinements on surgical and therapeutic techniques. Recently, Dr. Nabil Ebraheim’s attention has been turned to the treatment of osteomyelitis, or infection of the bone. Osteomyelitis is the result of either a fungal or bacterial infection of the bone marrow, and can cause permanent damage to the bone without treatment.

These infections of the bone can be transmitted by the blood or can enter through a deep wound or surgical site. Staphylococcus bacteria is a particularly common cause of bone infections since it can be present on the skin without causing any problems. The age of the patient appears to be a factor, as children usually experience bone infections in the long bones in their arms and legs, while adults typically get infections in their hips, spine, or feet. Though the infection is in the bone, symptoms can be felt throughout the body, since abscesses are often produced in the surrounding tissues, and swollen bone marrow can cut off blood flow to the bone itself. Fevers, chills, and a general feeling of irritability can result, and redness, swelling, and soreness can occur in the skin and tissue surrounding the infection.

A doctor can diagnose a bone infection through the testing of blood as well as tissue samples, but detection may require an X-ray MRI scan, or bone biopsy. Once diagnosed, treatments may be as simple as antibiotics taken orally, though a severe infection may require injections. In the most extreme cases, surgery may be needed to remove infected tissue. In any event, treatment will likely be aggressive, because a bone infection can eventually become so serious as to require an amputation if treatment is begun too late.

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