What is Bone Marrow Edema?
Bone marrow edema (BME) is a condition where there are abnormal amounts of fluid within the blood. This fluid collects in the bones causing pain and swelling. BME affects both children and adults, but it’s most common among infants and young children. It may cause fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or skin rash. Children with BME have been known to die from dehydration if not treated immediately.
The term “edema” comes from the Latin word meaning “to swell.” When cells become overfilled with water they begin to lose their shape and function. They start leaking out of the cell into surrounding tissue. This leakage causes the body to expel waste products such as urine, blood and other fluids.
Sometimes the fluid leaks through broken capillaries in tissues like veins or arteries. Other times it builds up inside organs like lungs, heart or brain causing them to fail completely.
How is Bone Marrow Edema Treated?
There are many treatments available for BME. Some of these include:
Antibiotics to kill off any bacteria that might be causing the problem. These antibiotics will usually stop the bleeding, but won’t cure the child of having BME. If left untreated, the infection can spread throughout other parts of the body and cause death.
Surgery to remove the infection using a procedure called debridement. This involves removing dead tissue and cleaning the wound. Sometimes antibiotics or other medicines are injected directly into the wound to help it heal quicker and deter any potential infections.
Corticosteroids to reduce the swelling in some cases. They’re effective for treating the edema caused by several types of cancer and immune disorders.
Immunosuppressants to help prevent your body from attacking its own cells. This is typically used to treat the edema caused by an autoimmune disorder.
How to Prevent Bone Marrow Edema?
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with bone marrow edema, there are a few things you can do to prevent it from happening again:
Try to ensure your child gets plenty of rest and eats nutritious meals free from any additives, artificial ingredients or excessive sugars. A healthy diet can help boost your immune system and prevent some illnesses.
Make sure your child always has access to clean drinking water. Dehydration can quickly cause the body to swell.
If your child shows any signs of an illness like runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea, make sure they stay at home and rest. Staying home prevents the illness from spreading to other children who are healthy and can’t get sick. It also gives the sick child time to rest and recuperate.
Make sure your child gets all their vaccinations. This is very important for children under five since their immune systems are still developing.
How is Bone Marrow Edema Diagnosed?
Bone marrow edema is usually diagnosed by taking a sample of the swollen tissue and examining it under a microscope. In some cases, a needle biopsy is required to take a sample of the infected area.
Sources & references used in this article:
MRI-controlled analysis of 104 patients with painful bone marrow edema in different joint localizations treated with the prostacyclin analogue iloprost by R Meizer, C Radda, G Stolz, S Kotsaris, G Petje… – Wiener klinische …, 2005 – Springer
Transient osteoporosis: transient bone marrow edema? by AJ Wilson, WA Murphy, DC Hardy, WG Totty – Radiology, 1988 – pubs.rsna.org
Effective and rapid treatment of painful localized transient osteoporosis (bone marrow edema) with intravenous ibandronate by JD Ringe, A Dorst, H Faber – Osteoporosis international, 2005 – Springer