Caring for osteomyelitis | Ohio State Medical Center


Osteomyelitis is a really big word, and
I actually don’t use that word that often because it’s kind of big and
nobody can spell it and it’s kind of hard to pronounce but really what it
means is infection involving a bone. So people who have infections involving
bones, just like if they have infections involving other places, typically are
treated with antibiotics, but there are times when antibiotics alone don’t take
care of the problem. So sometimes we also have to do surgery
to take care of osteomyelitis. So we have to remove the part of the bone
that’s infected or remove the areas around the bone that might be infected.
We do a number of procedures to try to get rid of the infection. Sometimes, we
actually put antibiotics directly in the area of the bone that’s infected. We use
what we call beads or spacers and sometimes those are materials that we
make right in the OR involving mixing antibiotics with other other materials
that are friendly to the body. And we place them in the area where the
infection was. A lot of times we try to use materials that dissolve so the
patient doesn’t have to have another procedure to take that material out once
the infection is gone. Sometimes we do have to use materials that remain intact, and sometimes they have to be removed, sometimes they get to stay in the body
and don’t bother anyone. A lot of times, if joint replacements are involved
and they’re infected, we have some pretty complex procedures, sometimes even a
series of procedures, where we really try to get rid of the infection and then
hope to replace the joint the patient has with another joint or at least a
spacer that works something like a joint or at least something that gets them to
getting back to having a joint. There are times that this can’t be done but that’s
always our primary objective. It’s a very challenging area and there’s
a lot of kind of new research going on in that area, and we’re trying to stay
involved with all that and bring the best that’s out there back to our
patients here.

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