Dunedin Osteomyelitis Doctor

Sometimes the aches and pains that feel like the flu are something else entirely. That is the case of vertebral osteomyelitis, which mimics other types of infection. If you have a fever and back pain, it is important to see a doctor right away.

The earlier vertebral osteomyelitis is treated, the better the odds of a successful outcome. A Dunedin vertebral osteomyelitis doctor can make a diagnose and initiate proper treatment.

What is Vertebral Osteomyelitis?

Vertebral osteomyelitis is an infection of the vertebrae caused by either fungi, bacteria, or mycobacteria. The infected material enters the vertebrae via the bloodstream or from an open wound or other infected tissue. From there it will usually attack two vertebrae and the disc between them. The infection causes compressed blood vessels within the bone, which can cut off the blood supply.

When this happens, the bone can die and decay. For an accurate diagnosis, it is important to consult a Dunedin vertebral osteomyelitis doctor. They can determine whether osteomyelitis is causing the person’s pain.

Who is At Risk

While anyone may contact osteomyelitis, certain people are more vulnerable to this infection than others. Those more susceptible include anyone diagnosed with specific diseases or who has certain personal habits, such as:

  • Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation
  • Diabetics
  • HIV/AIDS patients
  • Illicit drug users
  • Kidney dialysis patients
  • Sickle cell patients
  • Smokers
  • Steroid users

Generally, anyone suffering from a serious medical problem is at greater risk of developing osteomyelitis.

Symptoms That May Indicate This Condition

Many vertebral osteomyelitis symptoms are common to any infection. They include fever – although not every osteomyelitis patient runs a fever – along with pain, swelling, and redness in the affected area. Those suffering from osteomyelitis may also be fatigued and may unexpectedly lose weight. Any signs of a potential infection require medical attention.

If osteomyelitis worsens, complications may ensue. One complication is bone death that may require the surgical removal of the dead bone. The infection may also progress to a joint, causing a condition known as septic arthritis. Sometimes, the infection from vertebral osteomyelitis can cause abscesses and other sores to form, resulting in draining pus. Skin near the affected area is at an increased risk of developing cancer. Therefore, it is important to treat any suspected case of osteomyelitis seriously.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Along with conducting a physical examination, the doctor will usually order a series of tests to diagnose vertebral osteomyelitis. Blood tests are usually necessary to determine the type of infection present. Further, X-rays will show whether bone damage or death has occurred, but the evidence may not appear on radiographs until weeks after the symptoms begin.

The doctor will usually also have a bone biopsy performed. The biopsy will show the germs infecting the bone. This allows them to prescribe the right antibiotics or antifungal drugs. These drugs are often given for several weeks or even months. If the patient suffers from an abscess as a result of osteomyelitis, the area is drained and cleaned and instructions on proper care are given.

When bone death occurs, surgery is usually needed to remove all of the dead bone. The surgeon may also remove a small section of healthy bone to ensure any infected parts are gone.

Talk to a Dunedin Osteomyelitis Doctor

Vertebral osteomyelitis is rare but extremely serious. If you believe you are experiencing the symptoms of osteomyelitis, it is important to act quickly to give yourself the best chance of a successful outcome. Call a Dunedin vertebral osteomyelitis doctor to set up a consultation.