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Rigshospitalet - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Chronic Non-bacterial Osteomyelitis: A Review

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Chronic non-bacterial osteomyelitis (CNO) is a rare auto-inflammatory bone disorder, with a prevalence of around one in a million patients. In the more severe form, it is referred to as chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO). We present the current knowledge on epidemiology, pathophysiology as well as diagnostic options and treatment regimens. CNO/CRMO most commonly affects children and lesions are often seen in the metaphyseal plates of the long bones, but cases have been described affecting all age groups as well as lesions in almost every bone. It is, therefore, a disease that clinicians can encounter in many different settings. Diagnosis is mainly a matter of exclusion from differential diagnoses such as bacterial osteomyelitis and cancer. Magnetic resonance imaging is the best radiological method for diagnosis coupled with a low-grade inflammation and a history of recurring episodes. Treatment is based on case reports and consists of alleviating symptoms with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs since the disease is often self-limiting. Recently, more active treatments using either bisphosphonates or biological treatment are becoming more common, to prevent long term bone damage. In general, due to its rarity, much remains unclear regarding CNO/CRMO. We review the known literature on CNO/CRMO and propose areas of interest as well as possible ways to make current diagnostic criteria more detailed. We also find unifocal cases of the jaw to be a possible sub-type that may need its own set of criteria.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)544-553
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

    Research areas

  • Autoinflammatory bone disorder, Pustulotic arthro-osteitis, Rare bone diseases, Sclerosing osteitis

ID: 56463114