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Osteomyelitis is a bone infection. Infection may spread to bone from surrounding soft tissue, from elsewhere in the body via the blood, or directly from a bone injury or bone surgery.

Osteomyelitis is a serious complication of chronic wounds and necrotizing infections and is a distinctive feature of Wagner Grade 3 diabetic ulcers.

Bone infections may be caused by any number of bacteria or fungi. The most common cause of osteomyelitis is MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which has become a particularly troublesome hospital- and healthcare-acquired infection (HAI).

In children, osteomyelitis most commonly affects the long bones of the legs and upper arms.

Adults are more likely to develop osteomyelitis in the bones that make up the spine (vertebrae)

People who have diabetes may develop osteomyelitis in their feet if they have foot ulcers.

Blocked vessels (ischemia) or poor circulation of oxygenated blood in and around infected bone may lead to inflammation (osteitis), abscess (pus), swelling (edema), pressure, and death (necrosis) of soft and bony tissue.

The UHMS approval for treatment of osteomyelitis with hyperbaric oxygen therapy applies specifically to refractory osteomyelitis.

Refractory means "resistant to treatment". Clinicians may utilize other treatments, such as antibiotics, for a period of time before assessing an infection as refractory. Hyperbaric oxygen is administered as an adjunct to antibiotics and other therapies. A qualified physician should make the recommendation to treat a bone infection with HBOT.