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Bone Infection or Osteomyelitis (osteo- derived from the Greek word osteon, meaning bone, myelo- meaning marrow, and -itis meaning inflammation) simply means an infection of the bone or bone marrow. It can be usefully subclassified on the basis of the causative organism (pyogenic bacteria or mycobacteria), the route, duration and anatomic location of the infection.

In general, microorganisms may infect bone through one or more of three basic methods: via the bloodstream, contiguously from local areas of infection (as in cellulitis), or penetrating trauma, including iatrogenic causes such as joint replacements or internal fixation of fractures or root-canaled teeth.

Once the bone is infected, leukocytes enter the infected area, and, in their attempt to engulf the infectious organisms, release enzymes that lyse the bone. Pus spreads into the bone's blood vessels, impairing their flow, and areas of devitalized infected bone, known as sequestra, form the basis of a chronic infection.

Often, the body will try to create new bone around the area of necrosis. The resulting new bone is often called an involucrum. On histologic examination, these areas of necrotic bone are the basis for distinguishing between acute Bone Infection (osteomyelitis) and chronic Bone Infection (osteomyelitis). Bone Infection (Osteomyelitis) is an infective process which encompasses all of the bone ( osseous) components, including the bone marrow. When it is chronic it can lead to bone sclerosis and deformity.

In infants, the infection can spread to the joint and cause arthritis. In children, the long bones are usually affected. In adults, the vertebrae and the pelvis are most commonly affected.

The most common form of the disease in adults is caused by injury exposing the bone to local infection.

Systemic mycotic ( Fungal ) infections may also cause Bone Infection (osteomyelitis).

Diagnosis of Bone Infection (osteomyelitis) is often based on radiologic results showing a lytic center with a ring of sclerosis. Culture of material taken from a bone biopsy is needed to identify the specific pathogen; alternative sampling methods such as needle puncture or surface swabs are easier to perform, but do not produce reliable results.