Osteomyelitis complications may include:

  • Bone death (osteonecrosis). An infection in your bone can impede blood circulation within the bone, leading to bone death. Your bone can heal after surgery to remove small sections of dead bone. If a large section of your bone has died, however, you may need to have that limb amputated to prevent spread of the infection.
  • Septic arthritis. In some cases, infection within bones can spread into a nearby joint.
  • Impaired growth. In children, the most common location for osteomyelitis is in the softer areas, called growth plates, at either end of the long bones of the arms and legs. Normal growth may be interrupted in infected bones.
  • Skin cancer. If your osteomyelitis has resulted in an open sore that is draining pus, the surrounding skin is at higher risk of developing squamous cell cancer.
Nov. 20, 2012

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