Chronic recurrent osteomyelitis with clavicular involvement in children: diagnostic value of different imaging techniques and therapy with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Eur J Pediatr. 1998 Jan;157(1):28-33. doi: 10.1007/s004310050761.


Chronic recurrent, uni- or multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO), an inflammatory disorder of unknown origin, involves mk:/night/arul/4310946m.3dultiple osseous sites and may affect the clavicle. We report on 6 children with clavicular involvement out of 11 children suffering from CRMO. The major clinical symptoms were local swelling and pain. Five children had hyperostosis of the clavicle and synovitis of adjacent joints. Histology showed chronic osteomyelitis with a predominance of lymphocytes in the inflammatory infiltrates. Cultures of biopsy tissue specimens were sterile. The patients were followed for at least 3.5 years. Three patients had up to six relapses. The most effective diagnostic tools to define CRMO were standard X-ray and bone scan in combination with biopsy and cultures. In our patients CT and MRI were misleading as they suggested the presence of malignancy. However, the sensitivity of MRI to detect involvement of bone, adjacent joints and soft tissues were better in comparison to X-ray or bone scan. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were effective in reducing pain, swelling and limitation of motion. Reconstructive surgery was not indicated in any case. The long-term outcome of growth and function of affected bones was excellent.

Conclusion: Diagnosis of chronic osteomyelitis of the clavicle should be made by history and physical examination and be confirmed by standard X-ray, bone scan and open biopsy. In contrast MRI and CT can provide data on the involvement of adjacent joints, soft tissue and muscles especially in the early process of disease, but do not add information relevant to the patient's management. Treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is rapidly beneficial in most patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Clavicle* / diagnostic imaging
  • Clavicle* / pathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Osteomyelitis / diagnosis*
  • Osteomyelitis / drug therapy*
  • Osteomyelitis / physiopathology
  • Prognosis
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Recurrence
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal