Chronic Recurrent Multifocal Osteomyelitis

  • Marion R. Roderick
  • Athimalaipet V. RamananEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 764)


Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO) is an autoinflammatory bone disease occurring primarily in children and adolescents. Episodes of systemic inflammation occur due to immune dysregulation without autoantibodies, pathogens or antigen-specific T cells. CRMO is characterised by the insidious onset of pain with swelling and tenderness over the affected bones. Clavicular involvement was the classical description; however, the metaphyses and epiphyses of long bones are frequently affected. Lesions may occur in any bone, including vertebrae. Characteristic imaging includes bone oedema, lytic areas, periosteal reaction and soft tissue reaction. Biopsies from affected areas display polymorphonuclear leucocytes with osteoclasts and necrosis in the early stages. Subsequently, lymphocytes and plasma cells predominate followed by fibrosis and signs of reactive new bone forming around the inflammation. Diagnosis is facilitated by the use of STIR MRI scanning, potentially obviating the need for biopsy and unnecessary long-term antibiotics due to incorrect diagnosis. Treatment options include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and bisphosphonates. Biologics have been tried in resistant cases with promising initial results. Gene identification has not proved easy although research in this area continues. Early descriptions of the disease suggested a benign course; however, longer-term follow up shows that it can cause significant morbidity and longer term disability.

Although it has always been thought of as very rare, the prevalence is likely to be vastly underestimated due to poor recognition of the disease.


Osteogenesis Imperfecta Periosteal Reaction Chronic Recurrent Multifocal Osteomyelitis Bony Lesion Bone Oedema 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bristol Royal Hospital for ChildrenBristolUK
  2. 2.Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic DiseasesBathUK

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