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Neonatal osteomyelitis: an Italian multicentre report of 22 cases and comparison with the inherent literature



The primary objective of this study is to report and compare our data with the most relevant literature of the past decade about neonatal osteomyelitis.

Study design

We retrospectively review the data of 22 subjects aged 35 days or less who were admitted to three different sites in Italy with a radiological diagnosis of osteomyelitis. The inherent literature was searched and reviewed: five studies were considered for comparison with our data.


All the neonates, except three (two pre-term and one post-term), were born at term. The male to female ratio was 1.75 (14 males and 8 females). The mean age at presentation was 19.5 days. The most common presenting signs of the infection were local swelling and reduced mobility of the affected segment. The most common sites of infection were the femur, humerus, and tibia. The mean duration of intravenous antibiotic therapy was 29.5 days. In most neonates the diagnosis was prompt and the antibiotic treatment immediate. A low rate of sequelae was reported. All infants survived through follow up. The data from the inherent literature showed a wide variability, probably owing to the setting and the historical period of the different studies.


Neonatal osteomyelitis is an alarming yet poorly understood disease. Nonetheless, our report suggests that a quick diagnosis and treatment can be easily achieved, with good outcome on the remarkably plastic structure of neonatal bones.

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This study did not receive any fund. The article is intellectual property of the authors that contributed to its designing and writing.

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Authors and Affiliations



MR conceptualized and designed the article, collected data, drafted and wrote the manuscript and tables, reviewed, and revised the final manuscript. EC provided and supervised data, reviewed and accepted the final manuscript. RMT provided surgical expertise for the management of neonatal osteomyelitis, reviewed, and accepted the final manuscript. MC provided imaging expertise for the diagnosis of neonatal osteomyelitis, reviewed and accepted the final manuscript. FN provided and supervised data, reviewed, and accepted the final manuscript. DD collected data, reviewed, and accepted the final manuscript. AG reviewed and accepted the final manuscript. LL reviewed and accepted the final manuscript. LG reviewed the manuscript for important intellectual content, reviewed and accepted the final manuscript. AV reviewed the manuscript for important intellectual content, reviewed, and accepted the final manuscript. AK provided, coordinated, and supervised data, reviewed, and accepted the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Marco Roversi.

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Roversi, M., Chiappini, E., Toniolo, R.M. et al. Neonatal osteomyelitis: an Italian multicentre report of 22 cases and comparison with the inherent literature. J Perinatol 41, 1293–1303 (2021).

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