Osteomyelitis (say "aw-stee-oh-my-uh-LY-tus") is a bone infection. It is caused by bacteria. The bacteria can infect the bone where it has been injured, or they can be carried through the blood from another area in the body.
Osteomyelitis can be a short- or long-term problem. It is treated with antibiotics. You may get the antibiotics as pills or through a needle in a vein (IV). You will probably get treatment in the hospital at first. The type of treatment depends on the type of bacteria causing the infection, the bones affected, and how bad the infection is. Sometimes people need surgery to drain pus from bone or to fix damaged bone.
Short-term osteomyelitis that is treated right away usually can be cured. But the long-term form sometimes comes back after treatment. You can help your chances of stopping the infection by taking your medicines as directed.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of:
June 4, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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