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Adult posttraumatic osteomyelitis of the tibial diaphysis of the tibial shaft.

Osteomyelitis of the diaphysis of the tibia in adults is an uncommon but disabling condition. It occurs principally in patients with complex fractures of the tibial shaft in which devitalized bone becomes infected either with a single strain of a virulent organism or with multiple organisms. The outcome of treatment depends on the assessment and management of three interrelated factors, which are the vitality and stability of the bone, the virulence and antibiotic susceptibility of the infecting organism, and the condition of the soft tissues. The impact of the infection on the patient's vitality is of great importance. Successful management depends on control of inflammation, excision of dead bone, and stabilization of the skeleton. Interlocking nailing and local antibiotic treatment are particularly successful strategies. In the future, modification of the inflammatory response with local tissue mediators may become an important adjunctive therapy.

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