Bone infection: a clinical priority for clinicians, scientists and educators

Eur Cell Mater. 2021 Oct 18:42:312-333. doi: 10.22203/eCM.v042a21.


Bone infection has received increasing attention in recent years as one of the main outstanding clinical problems in orthopaedic-trauma surgery that has not been successfully addressed. In fact, infection may develop across a spectrum of patient types regardless of the level of perioperative management, including antibiotic prophylaxis. Some of the main unknown factors that may be involved, and the main targets for future intervention, include more accurate and less invasive diagnostic options, more thorough and accurate debridement protocols, and more potent and targeted antimicrobials. The underlying biology dominates the clinical management of bone infections, with features such as biofilm formation, osteolysis and vascularisation being particularly influential. Based on the persistence of this problem, an improved understanding of the basic biology is deemed necessary to enable innovation in the field. Furthermore, from the clinical side, better evidence, documentation and outreach will be required to translate these innovations to the patient. This review presents the findings and progress of the AO Trauma Clinical Priority Program on the topic of bone infection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Osteolysis*
  • Osteomyelitis*