Treatment of Bone, Skin & Wound Infections
Infected Wounds Require Specialized Care to Heal
Treatment Of Bone Infections
A bone infection (osteomyelitis) may occur when various types of bacteria travel through the bloodstream and spread to the bone tissue or when an open wound above the bone leaves it exposed to harmful bacteria.
Mild bone infections are typically treated with a surgical procedure that cleans out the bone. Since the bone can be accessed in various ways, our team can determine which surgical approach is most suitable.
Locally administered antibiotics are then introduced in one of two ways. One option is for the surgeon to use non-resorbable bone cement during a subsequent surgery for removal and replacement with bone graft. The second option does not require any subsequent surgery, but rather the administration of an absorbable mixture of synthetic bone substitute. Antibiotic therapy is then required for four to six weeks to ensure all the remaining bacteria in the bone and bloodstream have been eliminated. Antibiotics may be given orally or through an intravenous (I.V.) catheter based on lab results obtained from surgical samples of the bacteria infecting the bone.
Much like a mild bone infection, a severe bone infection is first treated with a surgical cleansing procedure, followed by the administration of local antibiotics. In cases of severe infection, the newly-cleaned bone is not strong enough to bear weight. Several techniques can be used to rebuild the weakened bone, including bone grafting or bone transport – a process that involves the use of a special device called the Ilizarov external fixator. Depending on how much bone was lost due to infection, this device may stay in place for several months.
Treatment Of Skin Infections
There are many different types of skin and soft tissue infections. The first – and most essential – step when treating a skin infection is determining whether the infection is concentrated in one specific area (local response) versus systemic involvement (distributed throughout the body).
Treatment may include a course of appropriate antibiotics, debridement, drainage of pus collections, treating an underlying skin disease (i.e. eczema), and/or the removal of foreign bodies (i.e. stitches) that may be a focal point of infection.
Depending on the type of skin infection you have, your doctor may recommend these antibiotics:
- Topical Antibiotics: Mupirocin, Bacitracin, Neomycin, and Polymyxin effectively treat superficial skin infections that include dermatitis and impetigo, along with secondarily- infected traumatic lesions such as suture wounds, abrasions, and lacerations.
- Systemic Antibiotics: Penicillin, Doxycycline, Clindamycin, Minocycline, Dicloxacillin, Vancomycin, and Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole are used to treat complicated skin infections. Complicated, severe soft tissue infections can be indicated by pain disproportionate to physical findings, skin sloughing, violaceous bullae, cutaneous hemorrhage, skin anesthesia, rapid progression, and gas in the tissues.
- Prophylactic Antibiotics: These may also be administered before a surgery to prevent an infection.
Treatment Of Wound Infections
A wound infection may occur once bacteria enters through a break in the skin, attaches to the tissues, and halts the wound-healing process. Deep open sores (ulcers), bite wounds, and severe burns have a greater likelihood for getting infected. But infections can also occur in untreated lacerations (skin tears), puncture wounds (holes), incisions (cuts), and smaller wounds and burns.
The proper treatment of wound infection depends on several factors, including the length of time you have been experiencing the infection, the location and severity of the wound, and whether the infection has spread to other areas.
Infected wound treatment options include:
- Cleansing: This involves rinsing the wound with sterile water and/or germ-killing solutions.
- Debridement: Debriding serves to clean and remove dirt, objects, or dead skin and tissues from the wound area. After cutting out damaged areas in or around the wound, the wound may be drained to remove pus before applying wet or dry dressings.
- Medications: Antibiotics may be prescribed to fight infections, along with other medications to decrease the pain, fever, or swelling resulting from an infection.
- Other Treatments: Your doctor may recommend ways to treat or control the medical condition that is causing the wound infection. For instance, they may prescribe a medication to control a disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure. If you are experiencing blood vessel issues, surgery may also need to be performed to increase blood circulation.
- Lifestyle Modifications: Dietary restrictions, nutritional supplements (i.e.Vitamin C), and quitting smoking are lifestyle changes your doctor may recommend to promote wound healing and fight infection.