Primary osteomyelitis of the clavicle in children

Sushant Ghate, Ahmedm Thabet, G. Max Gosey, Edward P. Southern, Rodolfo E. Bégué, Andrew G. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Osteomyelitis of the clavicle is a rare entity with a broad differential diagnosis and high potential for complications if not diagnosed promptly and treated appropriately. The threshold for surgical intervention should be low to prevent osteonecrosis and bony resorption. In addition although rare life-threatening complications have been reported. This report describes primary osteomyelitis of the clavicle that was diagnosed in a 22-month-old girl on her third clinical evaluation after 4 days of symptoms. She presented to a children's tertiary care emergency department with fever and acute pain and swelling of her right shoulder and arm. The diagnosis was confirmed through clinical laboratory and imaging studies including ultrasound; these revealed subperiosteal abscess formation which may have developed in part as the result of a delayed diagnosis from the 2 prior emergency department visits. The patient was treated initially with intravenous antibiotics and underwent therapeutic as well as diagnostic needle-guided tissue aspiration under ultrasound guidance. This ruled out malignancy but was not curative and the subperiosteal abscess recurred within 24 hours prompting formal operative irrigation and debridement. The patient was seen for 12-month follow-up and has had no complications or evidence of recurrence. This case emphasizes the need for a high index of suspicion to prevent diagnostic delays as well as the importance of a low threshold for surgical debridement to minimize the potential for complications that could prolong the treatment course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e760-e763
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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