Osteomyelitis is a medical term that describes an infection of bone. Photograph: learningradiology.com
"Osteomyelitis" - Infection, usually by bacteria of bone and bone marrow. It is relatively rare in developed countries, but is more common in children, most often affecting the long arm and leg bones, and vertebrae. In adults, it usually affects the pelvis and vertebrae. In acute osteomyelitis, the infection (usually Staphylococcus Aureus) enters the bloodstream via a skin wound or as a result of infection elsewhere in the body. The infected bone and marrow become inflamed, and pus forms, causing fever, severe pain and tenderness in the bone, and inflammation and swelling of the skin over the affected area.
Prompt treatment over several weeks or months with high doses of antibiotic drugs usually cures acute osteomyelitis. If the condition fails to respond, surgery is performed to expose the bone, clean-out areas of infected and dead bone, and drain the pus.
Chronic osteomyelitis may develop if acute osteomyelitis is neglected or fails to respond to treatment; after a compound fracture; or, occasionally, as a result of tuberculosis spreading from another part of the body. The condition causes constant pain in the affected bone. Complications include persistent deformity and, in children, arrest of growth in the affected bone. In the later stages of the disease, amyloidosis may develop. Chronic osteomyelitis requires surgical removal of all affected bone, sometimes followed by a bone graft, antibiotic drugs are also prescribed.
"osteomyelitis". British Medical Association (2007). Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 2nd ed. London: Dorling Kindersley (DK). p423.