Osteomyelitis Surgery

Osteomyelitis surgery treats bone infection by draining pus and cleaning the medullary space (marrow cavity) and then removing any dead bone in the area of the infection, followed by two to three months of antibiotics.

Our Capabilities

Our orthopedic surgeons are specially trained to manage difficult bone infections and bone defects. We also coordinate with other experts to manage complicated soft tissue defects.

Compassionate Healing Starts Here

At the region’s only Level I trauma center, our orthopaedic surgeons are fellowship-trained in repairing even the most complex trauma injuries and fractures. UC Health’s round-the-clock coverage in operating rooms means we’re equipped to provide superior care to the most seriously injured patients. Our access to the latest technology and techniques also means we receive referrals from around Cincinnati—and the U.S.

To schedule an appointment, please call the UC Health Trauma & Fracture team at 513-475-8690.

Help Along the Way

Answers to Your Osteomyelitis Surgery Questions

Osteomyelitis (bone infection) usually occurs after fragments of bone are exposed to the outside environment and bacteria through breaks in the skin following an open fracture. However, they can also happen after bacteria that are circulating in the blood travel to the bone. 

These infections can be acute (recent) or chronic (present for a long time, on occasion many years). Because of the unique structure and nature of bone and its blood supply, infections can be very difficult to treat.

If antibiotics are unable to eradicate the bone infection, surgery is sometimes required to remove the infection and any associated dead and infected bone.

Osteomyelitis surgery is used when antibiotics are not able to treat the bone infection.  The surgery occurs in two parts. First, surgeons clean the bone and/or marrow cavity to remove infection, and then they cut away any dead bone in the area of the infection. Often, multiple surgeries may be required to remove all infection and dead bone, followed by two to three months of antibiotics. 

If there is a large amount of dead bone that needs to be removed, patients may require subsequent procedures to replace the bone and get it to heal once the infection is treated.

Anyone with acute or chronic bone infections that cannot be treated with antibiotics are good candidates for osteomyelitis surgery.

Bone infections are generally not painful, but they do result in draining wounds that don’t heal. If bone infections exist in the presence of a fracture, sometimes the fractures will not heal until the infection is eradicated. Surgery to treat bone infections help to get chronic wounds to close up and fractures to heal.

With modern advances in surgical techniques and antibiotic treatment, most bone infections can be eradicated and any associated bone loss can be repaired successfully to restore function to the limb.

Why UC Health

Experience and Expertise

Highly Successful

Our experts perform this procedure an average of 75–100 times per year with a 90% success rate.

Top-Notch Experience

UC Health has some of the best specially-trained trauma surgeons in the nation dedicated to advancing the science of osteomyelitis surgery.

Innovative Care

As an academic health system, we focus on providing world-class care, using innovative techniques and instruments that decrease complications and improve outcomes.

Team Approach

Successful treatment of bone infection requires coordinated, multidisciplinary care. Our orthopedic surgeons work closely with plastic surgeons and infectious disease doctors specializing in the management of bone and soft tissue infection.

Partner with Us

Referring Physicians: Success and Provider Toolbox

We are committed to providing optimal care to your patient and open communication with you. We understand that as a referring physician, you need to be kept informed on your patient’s progress. That’s why we set up a toolbox to share detailed information about your patient’s health with you.

For referral information, call:

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