J Bone Jt Infect 2019; 4(1):33-39. doi:10.7150/jbji.31843


Brodie's Abscess: A Systematic Review of Reported Cases

Niels van der Naald1,2✉, Diederik P.J. Smeeing1,2, Roderick M. Houwert2,3, Falco Hietbrink2,3, Geertje A.M. Govaert2,3, Detlef van der Velde1

1. St Antonius Hospital Nieuwegein, Department of Surgery, The Netherlands
2. University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of Surgery, The Netherlands
3. Traumacenter Utrecht, The Netherlands


Introduction: Brodie's abscess is a form of osteomyelitis. Since its first appearance in the medical literature in 1832, numerous cases have been described. The aim of this article is to provide the first comprehensive overview of published cases of Brodie's abscess, and to describe diagnostic methods, therapeutic consequences and outcomes.

Methods: According to PRISMA guidelines a systematic review of the literature was performed. All published data in English or Dutch were considered for inclusion with no limitations on publication date. Data was extracted on demography, duration of symptoms, signs of inflammation, diagnostic imaging, causative agent, treatment and follow-up.

Results: A total of 70 articles were included, reporting on a total of 407 patients, mostly young (median age 17) males (male:female ratio 2.1:1). The median duration of symptoms before diagnosis was 12 weeks (SD 26). Mostly consisting of pain (98%) and/or swelling (53%). 84% of all patients were afebrile, and less than 50% had elevated serum inflammation markers. Diagnosis was made with a combination of imaging modalities: plain X-ray in 96%, MRI (16%) and CT-scan (8%). Treatment consisted of surgery in 94% of the cases, in conjunction with long term antibiotics in 77%. Staphylococcus aureus was the pathogen most often found in the culture (67,3%). Outcome was generally reported as favorable. Recurrence was reported in 15,6% of the cases requiring further intervention. Two cases developed permanent disability.

Conclusion: Brodie's abscess has an insidious onset as systemic inflammatory signs and symptoms were often not found. Treatment consisted mostly of surgery followed by antibiotics (77%) or only surgery (17%) and outcomes were generally reported as favourable.

Keywords: Brodie's abscess, osteomyelitis, case report, systematic review

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How to cite this article:
van der Naald N, Smeeing DPJ, Houwert RM, Hietbrink F, Govaert GAM, van der Velde D. Brodie's Abscess: A Systematic Review of Reported Cases. J Bone Jt Infect 2019; 4(1):33-39. doi:10.7150/jbji.31843. Available from http://www.jbji.net/v04p0033.htm