Syphilitic osteomyelitis

Topic Completed: 1 August 2013

Revised: 9 November 2019

Revised: 27 December 2018

Copyright: (c) 2003-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Syphilitic osteomyelitis

Dariusz Borys, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 430
Page views in 2020 to date: 103
Cite this page: Borys D Syphilitic osteomyelitis. website. Accessed April 6th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Caused by Treponema pallidum and T. pertenue (yaws)
  • Bone involvement more common in congenital syphilis (Int J STD AIDS 1992;3:161); appears at 5th month of gestation in areas of active endochondral ossification (osteochondritis) and periosteum
  • Acquired syphilis involves bone in tertiary phase, usually nose, palate, skull, tibia, vertebrae, hands / feet
Radiology description
  • Reactive periosteal bone deposition (“saber shin” of tibia)
Gross description
  • Bone destruction and production
  • Necrotic, well-defined bone defects of cortex and periosteum surrounded by sclerotic bone
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Edematous granulation tissue, plasma cells, granulomas, necrotic bone and new bone production
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Dr. Mark R. Wick
Missing Image

Secondary syphilis

Positive stains
  • Special silver stains
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