Severe musculoskeletal infection variant in Lemierre's syndrome

Joshua D. Harris, Christopher C. Kaeding, David C. Flanigan, Andrew R. Naylor, Thomas J. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Lemierre's syndrome is a severe complication of Fusobacterium necrophorum oropharyngeal infection associated with metastatic foci of infection, internal jugular vein thrombosis, and septicemia. Musculoskeletal manifestations include isolated or multifocal septic arthritis, soft tissue abscesses, pyomyositis, and osteomyelitis. This article describes a case of a variant of Lemierre's syndrome in a 17-year-old girl, demonstrating a relentless case of limb infection refractory to multiple surgical debridements and broad-spectrum and targeted antibiotics. The patient had F necrophorum within a peritonsillar abscess and multiple foci within her right lower extremity. Overall, she required 12 surgical procedures and 14 weeks of antibiotic therapy to resolve the infection. Further unique findings in this case include the presence of a recent lateral meniscus tear with associated hemarthrosis treated with a short course of oral steroids prior to the diagnosis of septic arthritis. Knee arthroscopy with lysis of adhesions and manipulation at 6 months postinfection demonstrated significant chondral damage. Outcome at >2-year follow-up revealed pain-free activities of daily living and the ability to return to competitive, club-level collegiate softball. Clinically relevant findings illustrated in this case include potential development of antibiotic resistance within Fusobacterium genus with little to no response to several surgical debridements and broad-spectrum and targeted antibiotics, and development of multifocal, ipsilateral septic arthritis and soft tissue abscesses and pyomyositis in the context of steroid use and recent intra-articular knee injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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