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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Bone infections

Question: osteomylitis

 Anonymous - Thu Jul 10, 2003 7:03 pm

My husband is recovering from osteomylitis after lower back surgery. Early on when his symptoms & pain were appearant.The dr's took a swab culture of the surgery site it came back normal.How can this be when the infection was obviously there?
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Fri Jul 11, 2003 5:30 am

User avatar Dear Trudy,
I am glad to hear that your husband is recovering. Osteomyelits is caused by a bacterial infection to the bones. The bacteria may reach the bone either through direct spread (from a nearby abscess or wound) or via the blood. The most common organism to cause osteomyelitis is staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria NORMALLY lives on the surfaces of the body, including skin. Only when the body's immunity decreases or the organism breaches the skin surface and invades the inner tissues, does infection from these organisms occur. If Staph aureus is the cause of osteomyelitis it is ofcourse in that case not NORMAL and requires therapy.
In your husband's case there is the added danger of the organism being Tuberculosis. In that case your doctor could mean that its not TB which ofcourse is a grave concern. Another possibility is that the culture test needed repeating.

Of note is that a culture test never says normal or abnormal. It has to find organisms and sensitivity test tells us what antibiotics are good against this organism. It doesnt tell us that these organisms are the cause of a particular disease but if the organism is found to be abundant in an area where it shouldnt be, and it is known to cause the type of infection the patient is complaining of then it is strongly assumed to be the causative organism.

Best regards.
 SirFergusVon - Wed Apr 14, 2004 12:30 pm

Hello, i'm also glad to here your husband is recoverying. I'm 16 now and for the past few weeks i have been lugging around both a portable I.V and a portable V.A.C. My wound is finally begining to close and i think i may be wining my battle with this terrible disease.
My doctorS have me on cloxacillin, and my question to you doctor is with my leg breaking once but a few months ago and then osteo happening, is my sports career finished?

 et0129 - Mon Dec 20, 2004 7:41 pm

Like the other post, I also experienced a post-surgical infection following a Laminectomy at the L2-L3 disk level.

My Questions:
1. The infection went about 9-10 weeks before being correctly diagnosed. Does anyone know what kind of permanent damage can occur from this infection.
2. The bacteria was "enterobacter," not staph related. The Dr. says that this is an airborne virus that could infect anyone. Is this true? How would a bug like this enter a surgical site? Is it as rare as they say?
3. What is the best treatment? I have been on 3 mo. of IV antibiotics (Tobramycin, Maximpime) and they have kept me rotating on three different oral antibiotics since the infection was diagnosed, Cipro, Tequin, and something that started with a "B" (sorry).
4. How will I ever tell if the infection has been cured?

I'd welcome any helpful input.

Thanks, Erin

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