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Question: My brother has chronic osteomyelitis of the foot and has refused amputation and will not take anymore antibiotics. I live with him so what should I expect next? Could he die from this with no treatment and what will happen now? Nancy

Answer: Dear Nancy,

When suffering from chronic osteomyelitis, surgical removal of dead bone tissue is usually necessary. The open space left by the removed bone tissue may be filled with bone graft or by packing material to promote the growth of new bone tissue.

Occasionally if the infection is left untreated, an abscess may develop in the bone and surrounding tissue, which eventually produces an abnormal opening in the skin overlaying the area of bone infection (called a sinus tract), which may drain pus from the bone.

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