Treatment of Bone and Tissue InfectionInfections of the bone or soft tissue must be treated as soon as possible to prevent the development of chronic infection and other medical conditions. It can sometimes be hard to tell how bad an infection is at first. Bone infections (osteomyelitis) will sometimes present with either no symptoms or mild ones that are present in other conditions. Skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) may also mimic the symptoms of other clinical syndromes. But no matter how mild your symptoms may seem, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Otherwise, the infections could develop into something far more serious—even potentially fatal.
About Bone and Tissue Infections
Both soft tissue infections and osteomyelitis are bacterial infections. Soft tissue infections are caused by a variety of factors in which harmful bacteria can penetrate the skin, typically through a wound. They can be simple and non-necrotizing, but a necrotizing infection will cause rapid tissue death and can be fatal if left untreated.
Osteomyelitis, which can present with fever, swelling, tenderness, warmth and other classic infection symptoms, can develop in a bone that has been:
- Affected by a nearby blood clot after minor trauma
- Reached by a soft tissue infection that spread all the way down to the bone’s surface
- Fractured, particularly an open fracture that broke skin
- Destroyed by bacteria in the bloodstream
Bone and soft tissue infections are each treated with the following methods:
- A round of antibiotic medications, administered orally or intravenously
- Drainage of the affected area
Osteomyelitis can also be treated with surgery. In this procedure, a surgeon will remove the damaged parts of the bone when possible. You will then be given antibiotics.
Necrotizing soft tissue infections are treated with the removal of infected tissue (debridement) and hyperbaric oxygen therapy in addition to antibiotics. Should an infection in a limb or extremity become more severe even after treatment, amputation may be necessary.
What to Expect
Your infection’s response to antibiotics and other forms of treatment may vary based on its nature, so you must be prepared for the possibility that your bone or soft tissue infection won’t respond to the antibiotics you’re first prescribed.
Should you need surgery, you should be aware of possible risks, including:
- Post-surgical infection
- Blood clots
- Excessive bleeding
Your recovery period will be determined by the nature of your bone or soft tissue infection, but one thing is certain: The earlier you seek treatment, the better chance you have of beating it. At Tampa General Hospital, our expert team of medical professionals provides world-class treatment for patients dealing with bone and tissue infections.