Syphilitic osteomyelitis

Author: Dariusz Borys, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 28 September 2016, last major update August 2013

Copyright: (c) 2003-2016,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Syphilitic osteomyelitis
Cite this page: Syphilitic osteomyelitis. website. Accessed December 12th, 2018.
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

Images hosted on Pathout server:
Missing Image

Secondary syphilis - contributed by Dr. Mark R. Wick

Positive stains
  • Special silver stains