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Osteomyelitis is an inflammation of the bone and bone marrow caused by pus-forming bacteria, mycobacteria or fungi. All bone infection that is long-standing is called chronic osteomyelitis. People with this condition are treated with systemic antibiotics, which can be given by mouth or parenterally (i.e. by injection into the muscle or vein).

Chronic osteomyelitis is generally treated with antibiotics and surgical debridement but can persist intermittently for years with frequent therapeutic failure or relapse. Despite advances in both antibiotic and surgical treatment, the long-term recurrence rate remains around 20%.

Bone and joint infections are painful for patients and frustrating for both them and their doctors. The high success rates of antibiotic therapy in most infectious diseases have not yet been achieved in bone and joint infections owing to the physiological and anatomical characteristics of bone.

Treatment of Osteomyelitis


Antibiotics for treating chronic bone infection in adults
First published: September 6, 2013; This version published: 2014; Review content assessed as up-to-date: April 09, 2013.

Osteomyelitis Lancet 2004; 364: 36979
Daniel P Lew, Francis A Waldvogel