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Infection of the bone as may occur in the skull or spine is called osteomyelitis. In general, treatment of osteomyelitis involves a long period of intravenous antibiotics prescribed by the infectious diseases team.
The neurosurgery team may become involved in the following ways:
Osteomyelitis may occur via one of three ways:
Patients with osteomyelitis may be septic if associated with a brain or epidural abscess. They may show:
There may be normal signs of infection with swinging fevers, hot/cold flushes and drenching sweats. There may not be any systemic symptoms with chronic osteomyelitis.
Localised headache and signs of inflammation may be evident (ie swelling, redness, increased temperature). Headaches, nausea and vomiting may occur if there is associated brain abscess or subdural empyema.
There will be pain localized to the level of infection. There may be neurological deficits from spinal fractures and compression of the spinal cord, or compression from an epidural abscess.
For more information on St Vincent's Neuroscience services and additional resources visit our dedicated Neuroscience site here.