Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is an acute or chronic inflammatory process of the bone as a result of infection. The infection may be limited to a specific area or may be spread throughout the entire bone. It can be a result of direct injury or insult to the bone itself or can be seeded into the bone via the blood stream.

Patients most at risk for osteomyelitis include those with trauma or surgery to a bone, diabetics, alcoholics, those with sickle cell disease and those with a compromised immune system due to HIV/AIDS, steroid use or other immunosuppressive disorders. Surgical replacement of a joint or any prosthetic orthopedic device adds increased risk for developing osteomyelitis.

Untreated, osteomyelitis can result in localized spread of infection to adjacent soft tissue and joints, progression to chronic infection, amputation of the infected extremity and/or generalized infection.

Signs and symptoms of osteomyelitis include fever, localized pain, tenderness and swelling. Osteomyelitis can be easily detected by MRI. Conventional x-rays may not show bony changes for 14-21 days after onset. Bone scanning is also excellant at detection and ultrasound is showing great promise at being able to demonstrate changes in bone as early as 1-2 days after onset of symptoms.

Treatment for Osteomyelitis consists primarily of 4-6 weeks of IV antibiotics that can penetrate bone and joints. Surgical intervention in the form of cleaning the bone or removing the offending device is also commonly performed.

Upon physician's order, MediLink Homecare can assist you with administration of the IV antibiotics. MediLink Homecare is an infusion pharmacy with a state of the art ISO Class 5 clean room capable of preparing the antibitics for your use in the home. Specially trained high tech infusion nurses will teach you or your caregiver how to administer the drug. They can even insert the IV line you will use throughout the course of your therapy. Weekly assessment by the nurse as well as 24/7 on call availability allows you to receive therapy in the comfort of your own home with all of the support necessary.

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