What is Bone Infection?
Infection is invasion of the body with organisms that have the potential to cause disease. Bone infection occurs when bacteria invade bone, either through the bloodstream or by contact with the outside environment. The bacteria eat away at the bone and damage the local blood supply to that bone, consequently preventing antibiotics from reaching the bacteria.
Infection often causes redness, swelling and pain in the affected limb. Sometimes, fluid exits through the skin. This is called a draining sinus tract. Occasionally, the infection weakens the bone so much that the bone breaks.
Types of Bone Infection
Infection has several stages, from mild to severe.
- Mild infection does not weaken the structural integrity of the bone and allows safe use of the bone for weight bearing.
- Severe infection eats away at the structural integrity of the bone. When the bone loses its structural integrity, it cannot support weight and will likely break. This can be extremely painful.
Risk Factors for Bone Infection
People with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, sickle cell anemia, AIDS and HIV are at increased risk for infection. Others who are also susceptible include those with organ transplants who are receiving medication to suppress the immune system and those with multiple medical problems, such as renal and vascular diseases.
Images of Bone Infection
Radiograph shows mild bone infection. It is important to maintain intrinsic stability with antibiotic bead treatment structural integrity.
Images from the case of a 22-year-old patient with Gaucher disease and osteomyelitis of the femur. Treatment consisted of resection and compression. Radiograph on right shows healed, noninfected bone.