Treatment of Osteomyelitis in the Extremity

By February 24, 2009Reconstructive Surgery






Osteomyelitis is a severe and devastating bone infection. This can occur from simple wounds (venous stasis ulcers) to severe trauma of the extremity from open fractures.

In our practice, we find that many patients have not been adequately treated for osteomyelitis. In our view, osteomyelitis is a surgical disease. This means that IV antibiotics and other lesser therapies (such as hyperbaric oxygen) have only a minor role in the true treatment of this disease. The only sure way to eradicate osteomyelitis is to debride all necrotic and infected tissue, including the bone. The reason why this is not always done is because of the concern for removing bone , and soft tissue, which is not always replaceable.

At the PROS Center, we worked hand in hand with our orthopedic colleagues to have an OrthoPlastic approach to osteomyelitis. This means that we have our orthopedic surgeons, as the bone specialists, to remove all of infected bone. As plastic surgeons, we then have the expertise to provide all of the options for stable soft tissue coverage. Once the soft tissue envelope is stabilized, the orthopedic surgeons may return to perform other ancillary procedures to replace or stabilize the bone.

There are a few centers in the country, where there can be one-stop shopping to treat these extremely complex disorders such as osteomyelitis.