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Case report
Septic arthritis of the pubic symphysis in pregnancy
  1. Glenn Patrick Boyles and
  2. Maged M Costantine
  1. Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Glenn Patrick Boyles; glenn.boyles{at}


Septic arthritis of the pubic symphysis is a rare but serious entity which can be difficult to distinguish from common pregnancy-related problems. The following highlights the risk factors and clinical features of this uncommon condition and describes its diagnosis and management. The patient is a 26-year-old gravida 2 para 1 (second pregnancy that lasted >20 weeks and one prior term delivery) who presented to the labour and delivery triage unit of a tertiary care centre at 23 weeks’ gestation with pelvis and hip pain. The patient had elevated inflammatory markers and Staphylococcal bacteraemia. MRI demonstrated pubic symphyseal septic arthritis and osteomyelitis. The patient underwent two fluoroscopy-guided joint aspirations; synovial fluid contained abundant neutrophils and grew colonies of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus. She then completed 6 weeks of intravenous antibiotic therapy. Repeat MRI of the pelvis at 31 weeks’ gestation was favourable. The patient underwent caesarean delivery at 39 weeks’ gestation without complication. Pelvic pain is common in pregnancy. However, abnormal musculoskeletal exam findings, historical elements and elevated inflammatory markers may suggest septic arthritis or osteomyelitis of the pubic symphysis. Accurate microbial identification, aggressive source control and multidisciplinary treatment are essential to optimal maternal and pregnancy outcomes.

  • pregnancy
  • obstetrics and gynaecology
  • bone and joint infections
  • interventional radiology
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  • Contributors GPB planned and conducted the research for this report and drafted this manuscript. MMC provided academic direction and editing for this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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