My 15yr old son had surgery on august 12 2013 to repair a broken ankle, A plate and 4 screws were used to repair the break. Since the surgery he has and swelling, pain and seeping at the surgery site. The orthopedic doctor has diagnosed this as a staph infection, he has been taking clindamycin. However he has not gotten better the doctors in this practice seem puzzled. Could the screws and plate be the cause of the repeated infections?RESPONSE
"Puzzled" is not going to make your son's ankle get better. If your son has been on Clindamycin for more than a couple of weeks and nothing has improved, then a new strategy is necessary.
You are correct in your question about the hardware being part of the problem. In spite of the sterility of the inserted hardware, the surgical area can get infected (just like any other surgery), but the problem is the hardware can harbor bacteria, once present, and make it difficult for an infection to clear up.
If the doctors are convinced that there is an infection brewing and not a case of inflammation due to a lot of surgery in a small area, or perhaps a reaction to the implanted hardware (rare), then in my opinion they need the help of an infectious disease specialist.
If I understand the time line correctly, this problem has been going on for months, not weeks and if that is truly the case, I would also consider an MRI of the ankle to get a better "picture" of what may be going on. A bone scan would not be indicated at this point.
Some or all of my suggestions may have already been carried out, as you do not really elaborate, but the point to be made here is that you cannot just stay on Clindamycin indefinately and hope the infection goes away. More aggressive evaluation needs to be made.
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