Osteomyelitis is infection in the bone. Osteomyelitis can occur in infants, children, and adults. Different types of bacteria typically affect the different age groups. In children, osteomyelitis most commonly occurs at the ends of the long bones of the arms and legs, affecting the hips, knees, shoulders, and wrists. In adults, it is more common in the bones of the spine (vertebrae), feet, or in the pelvis. Fifteen patients were men and three were women, with an average age of 37 years (range, 18-52 years). In four cases, treatment involved the femur and in 15 the tibia. Positive cultures were obtained from each patient.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was isolated in 17 cases. The intramedullary dispenser was removed between 6 and 76 weeks after surgery. Success was defined as negative cultures after dispenser removal. Follow-up period was between 10 and 54 months. Negative cultures were obtained from intramedullary reaming after dispenser removal in all but one patient who could not finish treatment because of local intolerance to antibiotic treatment. None of the 17 patients presented an infection recurrence. If the disease is not treated appropriately, acute osteomyelitis can progress to a chronic disease. In chronic osteomyelitis, infection remains active, and periodic drainage to the surface via sinus tracts may occur. Bone damage may be extensive, possibly requiring amputation of the affected limb.