- Pp. 26-44 (19)Deepak Gupta, Soheyl Sheikh and Shambulingappa Pallagatti
Osteomyelitis is an inflammatory disease of bone. It occurs because of infection by pathogenic microorganisms. According to various authors, the disease may present as alveolar osteitis if only the alveolar bone is involved. On the contrary it is considered as osteomyelitis when the infection reaches the marrow cavity of the bone. However the disease presents various clinical features, it is sometimes difficult to diagnose this disease on the basis of clinical presentation alone. Further, delay in the diagnosis leads to progression of the disease. This can be avoided with the help of radiographic evaluation. Radiographically, the location or anatomical involvement of the affected site may help to differentiate between alveolar osteitis and osteomyelitis. Histolopathologically localized alveolar osteitis may present the same features as alveolar osteomyelitis. This may be attributed to the fact that alveolar bone possesses bone marrow too. Researchers also stressed on the early diagnosis and adequate treatment for osteomyelitis failing which, acute osteomyelitis may progress to subacute or chronic stage. Henceforth imaging modalities play a crucial role in the early diagnosis of the osteomyelitis of jaws. Various radiographic and imaging modalities which can prove to be beneficial in osteomyelitis of jaws are conventional radiography, CT Scan (Computed Tomography), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and Ultrasonography to name a few. Researchers even quote that Nuclear medicine imaging is able to detect osteomyelitic changes 10 to 14 days in advance to their appearance on plain radiographs.