How we treat orthopedic infections | Ohio State Medical Center

How we treat orthopedic infections | Ohio State Medical Center


I’m doing some research right now on the best ways to diagnose and take care of orthopedic infections, and these can be a variety of different infections including infections of joint replacements or other orthopedic hardware such as fracture fixation hardware. It can also be infection of a bone or a joint that doesn’t have any kind of prior procedure or hardware involved. So if the patient has had a bone infection that we call osteomyelitis, I’m usually the person who helps to get them taken care of. They may have had a joint replacement or another procedure and ended up with an infection for whatever reason. The frustrating part is we almost never know exactly what that reason was. Something patients always want to ask and I really wish I could find a radio collar to put on a bacterium because then we could figure out where they go and where they come from, but they’re a little small for that. So we don’t really know where they come from but when patients are discovered to have an an infection, sometimes their home-treating doctor will really make a great effort to take care of the problem. And in many cases, it would work. But in the cases where perhaps there’s more to be done, a lot of people realize that Ohio State has a number of resources, including surgeons and medical doctors, and that we work together as teams to take care of some of these more involved problems. I have a specific collaboration with a couple members of the plastic surgery department. And we do what we call combination cases where, if there’s a problem that involves both bone and soft tissues, I help take care of the bone problem such as an infection or deformity. And then, the plastic surgeons will then take care of the soft tissue part of the problem. We often do it in the same or a very closely related procedure so the patient has one surgery all at once and the problem is largely resolved. We even have coordinated some of our clinic times so that, in some cases, the patient doesn’t have to make as many trips to the clinic. It’s a very challenging area, and there’s a lot of kind of new research going on in that area, and we’re trying to stay involved with all that and bring the best that’s out there back to our patients here.

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