Background. The aim of this study was to evaluate clinical outcomes in the published literature on medical and surgical management of diabetic foot osteomyelitis (DFO).
Methods. A PubMed and Google Scholar search of articles relating to DFO was performed over the dates of January 1931 to January 2020. Articles that involved Charcot arthropathy, case reports, small case series, review articles, commentaries, nonhuman studies, and non-English articles were excluded. The Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS-2) tool was used to rate the bias of each study. A meta-analysis was performed using random-effects and inverse variance methods. The search yielded 1192 articles. After review and the removal of articles that did not meet inclusion criteria, 28 articles remained. Eighteen articles were related to the medical management of DFO and 13 articles were related to surgical management. Three articles looked at a combination of medical and surgical management and were included in both groups. Heterogeneity was evaluated using Cochran Q, I2, τ2, and τ.
Results. The average success rate was 68.2% (range, 17.0%–97.3%) for medical treatment and 85.7% (range, 65.0%–98.8%) for surgical and medical treatment. There were significant inconsistencies in accounting for peripheral arterial disease and peripheral neuropathy. There was significant heterogeneity in outcomes between studies. However, there was a high rate of successful treatment and a wide range between patients with medical treatment and combined surgical and medical treatment.
Conclusions. Additional properly designed prospective studies with gold-standard references for diagnosing osteomyelitis are needed to help determine whether medical management of DFO can be successful without surgical intervention.