Osteomyelitis is a bone infection characterized by progressive inflammatory destruction of the infected bone and new apposition of bone at the site of infection. In adults, osteomyelitis is usually a complication of open wounds due to fractures, surgery, or both, with or without the presence of foreign bodies such as prosthetic devices. In fact, it is estimated that about 0.4 to 7% of trauma and orthopaedic interventions are complicated by osteomyelitis.
Bone infections can also be the result of bacteraemia, mostly in children and in elderly patients, in whom the infection involves mainly the axial skeleton. The microorganism most frequently isolated in both post-traumatic and haematogenous cases is Staphylococcus aureus.