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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Diagnosed with Osteomyelitis, infection in tibia, below growth plate. Xray suggested stunted growth. What can be done?

My son unfortunately was diagnosed with Osteomyelitus when he was three weeks old. The infection was in the upper/inner side of his Tibia just below the growth plate. It was treated in what I believe to be the usual manner, drilled, washed out with antibiotics , then a tube left in leg to drain the remainder of infection for an amount of days. A week or so later the area was washed through with antibiotics. A further course of antibiotics for the next 9 weeks ensued to clear the infection. The problem lays with the did the growth plate get infected so will it stop that side of the tibia growing at the same rate as the good side . A year later and x-rays suggest that the growth plate on the previously infected site is either: a) not growing b) growing slower c) growing differently The Orphopedic surgeon who has been dealing with my son has now referred us to Mr Gaffey a specialist in this field of which we await the appointment date. 1) is it standard to inhibit the good side of growth plate then fit the external frame? 2) due to the young nature therefore growthplate still active, is it not possible to use stem cells to regenerate the damaged cartilage in growth plate? Kev
Sat, 23 Feb 2013
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Radiologist 's  Response
Hi, welcome to HCM.
It is common to damage growth plate due to such severe infection. Treatment plan used was correct so no need to think about it.
Present treatment for damaged growth plate is solely depends on conditions of bone. Stem cells therapy is quite difficult for just a single bone. However expert opinion is helpful in this manner. There may be a chance of shortness of height in future.

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