Development of osteomyelitis in a closed fracture is rare. Although it has been reported that trivial trauma may be associated with the subsequent development of acute osteomyelitis, no evidence has been found that fractures are involved in the etiology of osteomyelitis. Only 25 cases (11 in adolescents) of osteomyelitis after closed fracture have been reported in literature.
The authors report a case of osteomyelitis in an 8-year-old girl after a forearm fracture involving the diaphysis of the radius and ulna. Radiographic examinations were performed 5, 14, and 30 days after trauma. At last examination, the forearm appeared swollen and red. Blood culture and radiographs confirmed the clinical suspicion of osteomyelitis. The cultures grew Pantoea agglomerans, a saprophytic gram-negative bacterium commonly isolated from plants, flowers, seeds, water, and soil and sensitive to all of the most common antibiotics. After the arm was immobilized, high doses of intravenous antibiotics were administered for 4 weeks, and oral antibiotics were prescribed for an additional 4 weeks. The patient responded well to treatment. Twelve months after the initial injury, the patient regained full elbow and wrist flexion–extension range of motion.
Based on their experience and a review of the literature, the authors suggest that bone infection be considered for patients with closed fractures complicated by excessive or prolonged pain and swelling with evident signs of inflammation where no other obvious infection is apparent. Moreover, in children, bacterial infection may cause osteomyelitis more frequently than in adults, but no evidence exists that a closed fracture increases the incidence of osteomyelitis in children with a systemic infection.
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