Let's talk about Osteomyelitis

in StemSocial4 months ago

A big greeting to all members of the Stem Social community, I will repeat that I like to read publications in this space, they are all very instructive, I have been able to acquire knowledge that has allowed me to better understand the operation of some common tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging, it is good that users share good scientific content, it is nice to read, it is a kind of scientific review what we can appreciate here.

But this post is not only to thank you for the good content but to provide information from my part of a topic related to a type of infection, which fortunately, is not so common to see, but when it becomes present can be very complex to eradicate, I speak of the infection that is generated in the bones, which is called osteomyelitis,

If you want to know the characteristics of this type of infection, what is done to eradicate it and how it is produced to finally avoid it, I invite you to continue reading, you will surely be interested.

Pixabay/ Author: Prawny

I will begin by saying that bone tissue is basically the most resistant and strongest of the whole organism, it makes up the bones, and contrary to what is usually thought, it is also in permanent replacement, it is also highly vascularized, and its function is not only to be part of the system that allows us to move, together with the muscular system.

The bones also have other functions such as generating part of the cells that make up the blood in the bone marrow that contains the bones and additionally protects the spinal cord, an important component of the central nervous system, among others no less important.

The different functions it fulfills allow us to see that depending on the location of the infection there will be certain consequences or potential complications. An osteomyelitis in a bone of the face or in a vertebra of the spine is not the same as in the femur, for example, therefore the intention of this publication will not be to explain each and every one of the possible complications but rather to explain what are the main causes in order to avoid them and to understand what happens to understand why sometimes it is difficult to eliminate the infection.

Author: James Heilman, MD - Own work / CC BY-SA 4.0

Let's talk about the ways in which this infection usually originates:

  • The hematogenous route, that is, the infection spreads through the blood. This infection can originate somewhere in the body and the bacterium reaches the blood, where it travels until it lodges in a bone, and there it reproduces, producing the infection and subsequent inflammatory process.

This is by far the most common route of spread, accounting for more than 90% of the cause. And most of the times it occurs basically in children, this is justified by the fact that they have a weaker immune system, and for this reason they are more prone to have infectious diseases, which can cause the bacteria to reach the blood and lodge in a bone.

  • The latter makes it clear that a weak immune system predisposes to osteomyelitis. This condition of immunosuppression can be found in adults in many opportunities for example when:

-Have Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
-Severe malnutrition.
-If they receive chemotherapy.
-Use of immunosuppressants.
-Drug addiction or alcoholism.

  • But we also have other relatively common causes such as:
    -Penetrating trauma, where the bacteria is inoculated into the bone through a short sharp object for example.
    -Fracture with bone exposure.
    -A skin infection, cellulitis or abscess, which goes deep into the skin and reaches the bone.
    -Joint replacement, and if this replacement has not been properly sterilized.

Pixabay/ Author: PublicDomainPictures

As you can see, there are many probable causes of an infection like this, but the most frequent is that it is transmitted by hematogenous route, and children are, due to their weak immune system, the most affected in this aspect.

It is really complicated to do anything to avoid it completely, however, the logical thing is that when an infection occurs in any part of the body, it should be treated in a timely and effective manner, to prevent the organism that causes it from spreading through the blood.

I should point out that while it is true that most of the time osteomyelitis is caused by bacteria, there is also the possibility that it is caused by fungi or parasites, which makes the situation much more complex to handle.

Bones, in spite of being highly vascularized, are not easy to reach with antibiotics, because not all of them have effect and good penetration at bone level, which leaves a little limited in some opportunities the use of some of these drugs.

Pixabay/ Author: allinonemovie

Knowing the probable causes and the ways of dissemination allows us to be on the alert for this disease, and to know that, especially in children, when there is any sign of infectious disease, it is necessary to treat it in time to prevent this complication from occurring.

Treatment is usually started by intravenous route, and when symptoms improve, it is usually switched to oral route. In some cases, depending on the resistance of the causal agent, treatment may last several months. There are opportunities that the infection is thought to be eradicated but it reappears, which indicates that it was not totally eliminated in the beginning.

This disease always represents a great challenge in the medical sector, and it can be even worse when it occurs in areas such as the face or spine, which due to its proximity to the central nervous system can lead to another series of possible complications, which it is best to avoid at all costs.

I hope you now have a better vision of what osteomyelitis is, and if you have read this far I thank you very much. Any doubt or suggestion you can leave it in the comments.


The diagnosis should be difficult right?

Yes @gwajnberg, it really is. It starts with a suspicion, with high white blood cell values in hematology. But the confirmation is usually done through x-rays, which can be clearly seen in the bone a bone difference at the site of infection. Also a fever that does not improve.
In more severe cases it can happen that the bone infection communicates with the skin, and a fistula is formed, where there is constant secretion, and this phase is much more complex and advanced.

Thank you


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