Semin Plast Surg 2009; 23(2): 059-072
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1214158
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Osteomyelitis of the Long Bones

Jason H. Calhoun1 , M.M. Manring2 , Mark Shirtliff3
  • 1The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio
  • 2University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine, Columbia, Missouri
  • 3Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
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30. April 2009 (online)


Long bone osteomyelitis presents a variety of challenges to the physician. The severity of the disease is staged depending upon the infection's particular features, including its etiology, pathogenesis, extent of bone involvement, duration, and host factors particular to the individual patient (infant, child, adult, or immunocompromised). Long bone osteomyelitis may be either hematogenous or caused by a contiguous spread of infection. A single pathogenic organism is almost always recovered from the bone in hematogenous osteomyelitis; Staphylococcus aureus is the most common organism isolated. A variety of multidrug-resistant organisms of bacteria continue to be a source of concern in arresting infection. The primary weapons to treat these infections are culture-specific antibiotics, aggressive debridement, muscle flaps, and bone grafts. This article offers a basic review of the classification, etiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, and treatment of long bone osteomyelitis.


Jason H Calhoun, M.D. , F.A.C.S. 

Frank J. Kloenne Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery, Professor and Chair, Department of Orthopaedics N-1043 Doan Hall

410 West 10th Ave, The Ohio State Medical Center, Columbus, OH 43210