Osteomyelitis is a sad tale that is difficult for onlookers to fathom. The devastating illness does not have much attention and research compared to most illnesses; hence, it is common for people in isolated areas to suffer for years before stumbling onto a support group or education. The worst part about it is people who receive treatment can get a secondary infection and do not have studies to show for the consensus of the high mortality, morbidity, and economic strain. We have broken down the basics of the illness so that you know exactly what to expect.
What is osteomyelitis, and how does it happen?
Inflammation is a swelling of the bone tissue due to a bacterial infection. It tends to occur on the thighbone and upper arm bone in children or adults’ spinal column.
It can happen due to an infection from a nearby injury such as foot ulcers. Another way is by getting an injury such as a stab by a sharp object that sets the infection on the bone. Surprisingly, you can also get the infection when receiving treatment for another bone injury, such as during surgery. The bottom line is you can get an infection from anything that comes into contact with your bone, including bacteria that travels through the blood or pneumonia with a deep puncture that affects the bones.
Signs of osteomyelitis
The symptoms will vary depending on the individual, but you should notice a few common signs because the infection works the same way and permanently destroys the bone. The entire infection will tend to cause the following issues:
- Pain around the infection
- Redness and swelling
- Destruction of the bone
- Formation of a new bone
- Children will have irritability when you touch the inflamed area
- Difficulty in moving the area, walking, carrying weight, or stretching
The symptoms of this illness will look like many different medical conditions; hence it is essential to seek medical attention for accurate diagnosis.
Diagnosis of osteomyelitis
The medical practitioner at Avitus will do a physical and health history exam before they proceed to additional tests like blood work. We will also X-ray or magnetically scan the affected area to identify physical signs of inflammation and pain, usual signs of advanced osteomyelitis. Finally, we may use biopsies to determine the best treatment and how we should operate the area.
Treatment or osteomyelitis debridement
Treatment follows a multi-disciplinary approach that depends on the type and degree of the infection. The most common initial treatment is the administration of antibiotics within the first two weeks, so we can target and control the microorganisms causing the inflammation.
The care provider will then complement the treatment with other solutions based on the following actors:
- Age and medical history
- Extend of the infection
- Tolerance to the available bone harvesting purpose
- Personal preference of the patient in regards to autogenous bone harvesting and grafting
- The expectation of bone graft types reactions
Before proceeding to surgical options, there are other combinations of treating the infection, including rets, bracing, a bone graft procedure, and oxygen therapy. We want to help you manage the entire healing process by educating you on wound care, bone grafting benefits, and measures that will improve your overall health. Contact us online to book a consultation.
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