Management of bone infections in adults: the surgeon's and microbiologist's perspectives

Injury. 2011 Dec;42 Suppl 5:S18-23. doi: 10.1016/S0020-1383(11)70128-0.


Bone infection in adults is a potentially devastating complication following trauma or surgery. The clinician should diagnose osteomyelitis based on certain clinical manifestations and on laboratory and imaging findings. For pathogen identification, the treating surgeon should take appropriate tissue samples. Close collaboration with microbiologists is of paramount importance to dictate the appropriate duration and type of antibiotics to be administered. Treatment of acute osteomyelitis requires surgical debridement and prolonged course of antibiotics. Debate exists regarding the maintenance or the removal of any internal fixation device. Treatment of chronic osteomyelitis is more complicated. For its eradication the treatment course is often prolonged and frustrating. Based on the current literature an algorithm of treatment for both acute and chronic bone infections is recommended.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Diseases, Infectious / microbiology
  • Bone Diseases, Infectious / therapy*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Debridement*
  • Decision Making
  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Osteomyelitis / microbiology
  • Osteomyelitis / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents