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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Taking treatment for septic olecranon bursitis. Redness spread up the forearm. Any thoughts?

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Practicing since : 2007
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Hi, I'm calling because I'm in a Swiss hospital where I don't speak French and the doctor doesn't seem to speak much English. I realise the medical decisions are up to the doctor, I just want to try to understand what's going on. I have septic olecranon bursitis since six days ago (infection confirmed five days ago by blood tests) under treatment with 1mg Amoxicillin b.d. since four days ago. The swelling is general but not huge, not much liquid. Redness has spread up the forearm perhaps to three inches from the wrist. The doctor is going to perform an immediate bursectomy. My question: I thought antibiotics and aspiration were the first line of treatment, why surgery already? I asked the nurse and the doctor and they said basically that it is better to get the infected matter out sooner rather than later. I asked why not aspirate and they shrugged. Any thoughts? Thanks very much.
Fri, 25 Jan 2013 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Srikanth Reddy 2 hours later
Thanks for choosing health care magic for posting your query.
I can understand what you are going through. Yes, what you have been explained is right. Septic Olecranon bursitis has pus filled in your bursa. In presence of this pus the antibiotics cannot reach the infection area unless the pus is drained off. Aspiration is a way of removing the pus and releasing the pressure, but as you are saying that "the redness has spread up the forearm until 3 inches from the wrist", it seems to be a spread out infection and aspiration may not help at this stage. However it was a solution at an early stage.
But you dont need to panic. With the available modern instruments and anti-biotics you will become alright very fast. Infact the pain will subside quite immediately after the surgery.
You should examine your sugars cause an infected olecranon bursa is not very common condition and it is more common among diabetics.
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