Osteomyelitis of the clavicle is an uncommon disease, but it should be considered in patients who present with pain, cellulitis, or drainage in the sternoclavicular area following head and neck surgery, irradiation, subclavian vein catheterization, or immunosuppression. An idiopathic presentation is possible. In contrast to primary osteomyelitis of the clavicle, which is occasionally seen in children, secondary osteomyelitis is quite rare. It is often mistaken for a fracture or a possible neoplasm on plain x-rays. Tomograms and CT scanning are confirmatory, and in early cases, technetium-99m bone scanning can be helpful. Treatment must include early, aggressive surgical debridement of all affected tissues, followed by wound coverage with a well-vascularized flap and perioperative antibiotics.
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