Pyogenic osteomyelitis is still frequently seen in the developing world and the treatment of chronic osteomyelitis
presents a considerable challenge despite advances in microbiological techniques, antibiotics and surgical techniques. Acute
haematogenous osteomyelitis is commoner in children.
In the pre-antibiotic era, mortality rate was high and progression to chronic osteomyelitis was common. A near
similar scenario still exists in many developing countries due to the combination of inappropriate and/ or inadequate
antibiotic therapy, delayed presentation and unorthodox interventions by traditional healers.
Chronic osteomyelitis may result from poorly treated or untreated acute osteomyelitis, open fractures, surgery
for an array of orthopaedic conditions and from contiguous spread from infected soft tissue as may occur in diabetic foot
infections. A large array of treatment techniques hinged on sequestrectomy/debridement, management of dead space,
improvement of oxygenation and perfusion to ischaemic tissue exist. Despite these, total eradication of disease is difficult.
This article summarizes the pathology and methods of management available for pyogenic osteomyelitis. In
its acute and chronic forms, the disease is likely to remain prevalent in the developing world until issues of ignorance,
poverty and prompt access to appropriate and efficacious medical care are addressed.