Traditionally, the management of chronic osteomyelitis emphasizes the excision of necrotic and infected material (sequestrectomy/debridement) followed by prolonged administration of antibiotics. Most children with chronic osteomyelitis undergo surgery with the inherent risk of damage to their growth plate. Treatment regimen based on findings of imaging with emphasis on antibiotics to potentially reduce the rate of surgical interventions is being increasingly reported. An 8-year-old thin built Indian boy belonging to lower socio-economic group presented to the orthopedic department with the chief complaints of pain in the left upper leg for the last 3 months. Radiograph of the affected limb showed features of chronic osteomyelitis with a large diaphyseal sequestrum on the medial cortex of tibia with incomplete involucrum. No surgery was performed; not even incision and drainage. The sinuses healed completely in 6 weeks time with appropritate antibiotics alone. Gradually, over a period of 8 months, the large tibial diaphyseal sequestrum got fully incorporated into the healthy diaphyseal bone indistinguishable from normal bony architecture with complete clinical remission of sepsis. Our rare case is an example of the evolving notion that antibiotics and supportive care alone may be sufficient enough in the treatment of chronic osteomyelitis even with large diaphyseal sequestrum in paediatric cases where excellent healing potential of the immune-competent child may potentially make surgical intervention redundant.
|1.||Sequestrum. Mosby′s Medical Dictionary, 8th ed, Mosby. 2009. ISBN: 9780323052900. Available from: http://medical dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/sequestrum [Last accessed on 2012 Mar 07].
|2.||Wilkinson DA, Skinner MW. Primary trauma care manual: A manual for trauma management in district and remote locations. Oxford: Primary Trauma Care Foundation; 2000.
|3.||Reinehr T, Bürk G, Michel E, Andler W. Chronic osteomyelitis in childhood: Is surgery always indicated? Infection 2000;28:282-6.
|4.||Steinlechner CW, Mkandawire NC. Non-vascularised fibular transfer in the management of defects of long bones after sequestrectomy in children J Bone Joint Surg Br 2005;87:1259-63.
|5.||Jain AK, Sharma DK, Kumar S, Sethi A, Arora A, Tuli SM. Incorporation of diaphyseal sequestra in chronic haematogenous osteomyelitis. Int Orthop 1995;19:238-41.
|6.||Ibingira CB. Chronic osteomyelitis in a Ugandan rural setting. East Afr Med J 2003;80:242-6.