What is the outlook for patients with osteomyelitis?

With proper treatment, the outcome is usually good for osteomyelitis, although results tend to be worse for chronic osteomyelitis, even with surgery. Some cases of chronic osteomyelitis can be so resistant to treatment that amputation may be required; however, this is rare. Over many years, chronic infectious draining sites can evolve into a squamous-cell type of skin cancer; this, too, is rare. Any change in the nature of the chronic drainage, or change of the nature of the chronic drainage site, should be evaluated by a physician experienced in treating chronic bone infections. Because it is important that osteomyelitis receives prompt medical attention, people who are at a higher risk of developing osteomyelitis should call their doctors as soon as possible if any symptoms arise.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/28/2017.

References

  • Ryan KJ, Ray C. Chapter 58. Bone and Joint Infections. In: Ryan KJ, Ray C. eds. Sherris Medical Microbiology, 5e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2010.
  • Grad YH, Ross JJ. Chapter 200. Osteomyelitis and Septic Arthritis. In: McKean SC, Ross JJ, Dressler DD, Brotman DJ, Ginsberg JS. eds. Principles and Practice of Hospital Medicine. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2012. library.ccf.org Accessed 3/13/2018.
  • State Government of Victoria. Better Health Channel. Osteomyelitis Accessed 3/13/2018.
  • Journal of the American Medical Association. JAMA Patient Page: Osteomyelitis Accessed 3/13/2018.

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