Encompass Healthcare and Wound Medicine

Refractory Osteomyelitis

What is Refractory Osteomyelitis?

In order to understand what refractory osteomyelitis is, it is first important to understand basic osteomyelitis.

This patient has recurring or refractory osteomyelitis of his lower jaw.

This patient has recurring or refractory osteomyelitis of his lower jaw.

Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone, a rare but serious condition. Bones can become infected in a number of ways: infection in one part of the body may spread through the bloodstream into the bone or an opening due to a fracture or recent surgery may expose the bone to infection. In many cases, a type of staph bacteria called Staphylococcus Aureus causes osteomyelitis and can be cured with intravenous (I.V.) antibiotics.

Refractory osteomyelitis is a persistent or recurrent bone infection lasting longer than six months despite appropriate surgical and medical therapy, such as debridement and intravenous antibiotics. In some individuals, conditions are worse when co-morbidities like vascular disease or diabetes is present. Treatments can include a course of I.V. antibiotics, hyperbaric oxygen therapy or both.

Watch the short video below to understand a little more about a patient who has refractory osteomyelitis.


Treatment may include I.V. antibiotics, hyperbaric oxygen treatments, and more. Each case is independently evaluated and a patient plan is then developed to ensure the best care.

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