South African Journal of Surgery
On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
BACKGROUND AND METHOD: Severe chronic osteomyelitis with variable outcomes is still common among children in developing nations. There has been no consensus on the optimal method of treatment. We therefore prospectively evaluated the rates of wound healing and recurrence following open wound treatment of post-sequestrectomy dead spaces in 30 patients with haematogenous chronic osteomyelitis of the tibial shaft at the King Orthopaedic Clinic, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria, between January 2001 and December 2005. Thirty similar patients whose post-sequestrectomy dead spaces were treated by closed wound technique formed the control group. Both groups were subjected to standard methods of perioperative management. Saucerisation, sequestrectomy and curettage were the cornerstones of surgical therapy. The wounds were primarily either left open (study group) or closed (control group). The rates of wound healing and recurrence were used to assess the outcome of treatment. The chi-square test was used for statistical analysis. RESULTS: The median age was 13 years, with a range of 6 - 60 years. Staphylococcus aureus was the organism most commonly associated with chronic osteomyelitis. Rates of wound healing and recurrence in the study group were significantly better than in the control group (p<0.05), even though it took a relatively longer period to achieve healing with the open method of treatment. The follow-up period ranged from 1 to 5 years, with a median of 2 years. CONCLUSION: We observed that the results of the open method of treating post-sequestrectomy dead spaces were good, and we advocate its use in resource-poor settings.