Antibiotics as Effective as Conservative Surgery for Diabetic Foot Osteomyelitis

Selected patients with osteomyelitis from diabetic foot infections can be treated medically or surgically with equal effectiveness, according to a small randomized study in Diabetes Care, purportedly the first study to prospectively compare the two treatments. Fifty-two patients with diabetic foot ulcers complicated by osteomyelitis received either a 90-day course of antibiotics or had the infected bone removed surgically, followed by a short course of antibiotics. Healing (complete epithelialization) occurred in 75% of the antibiotic group and 86% of the surgery group (p=0.33), and complications during treatment were also similar in the two groups. Clinical guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America for dealing with diabetes-related foot osteomyelitis can be found here.

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