Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Chronic Osteomyelitis in Children: Treatment by Intramedullary Reaming and Antibiotic-impregnated Cement Rods

Bar-On, Elhanan MD*; Weigl, Daniel M. MD*; Bor, Noam MD; Becker, Tali MD*; Katz, Kalman MD*; Mercado, Eyal MD*; Livni, Gilat MD

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics: July-August 2010 - Volume 30 - Issue 5 - p 508-513
doi: 10.1097/BPO.0b013e3181e00e34
Selected Topics

Background Chronic osteomyelitis (CO) is rarely encountered in developed countries and is especially rare in children and adolescents. However, on occurrence, it can pose a difficult therapeutic challenge necessitating a combination of aggressive surgical treatment and prolonged antibiotic administration.

Methods Four patients were treated for CO in the Pediatric Orthopaedic Unit at Schneider Children's Medical Center between June 2005 and December 2006 and were reviewed retrospectively. Surgical treatment consisted of debridement and lavage, reaming of the intramedullary canal and insertion of gentamycin-impregnated polymetamethacrylate rods into the canal and beads around the infection site. At rod removal reaming and lavage were repeated. Antibiotic treatment was initiated with intravenous cephalothin, followed by prolonged oral treatment according to bacterial sensitivity.

Results Cement rods and beads were removed 16 to 62 days after insertion. Intravenous antibiotics were continued for 6 weeks (3-13) and total antibiotic treatment length was 16 weeks (10-37). Total treatment time from presentation to full resolution averaged 8 months (2-18). One patient sustained a fracture requiring osteotomy and correction. At mean follow-up of 41 months from rod removal (36-46), all patients are asymptomatic and fully functional with no clinical signs of infection. C-reactive protein is within normal limits in all 4 patients.

Conclusions The method presented combining reaming, lavage and local and systemic antibiotic treatment was found to be safe and effective in the treatment of CO, eradicating the infection and preventing further tissue loss.

Level of Evidence Therapeutic study, clinical case series: level IV.

*Pediatric Orthopaedic Unit

Infectious Disease Unit, Schneider Children's Medical Center, Petah Tikva, and Sackler Medical School, Tel Aviv University

Pediatric Orthopaedic Unit, Emek Medical Center, Afula, Israel

No support was received for this study.

Reprints: Elhanan Bar-On, MD, Pediatric Orthopaedic Unit, Schneider Children's Medical Center, 14 Kaplan Street, Petah Tikva, 49202 Israel. E-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.